Title: The Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Text: Revelation 6:1-8.
CIT: Conflict, war, famine and death are unleashed with great destruction and power upon the
Theme: What can I do to be ready for God’s judgment upon unrepentant mankind.
Should we believe what we hear and read in the news? Has oil and food really gone scarce? Do we need to stock up on food, water and other essentials getting ready for hard times that are surely coming? Do we need to hunker down in a bunker somewhere? What can we do to survive the economic crisis? The stock market is tumbling down. The dollar is not worth but almost half a euro. What to do? How long do we have? Is Christ returning?
What if I could set your mind at ease today about the present but awaken you to the coming judgment tomorrow? Would you listen? ---- Not to some crazed preacher but the inspired, infallible, Word of God?
I want to preach this morning on the Four
Horsemen of the Apocalypse. But, before I do, I want to look at some background information which will help you in understanding the time line involved in this chapter and the rest of the Book of Revelation.
Beginning in Revelation 6, we have what is called the beginning of “The Day of the Lord.” The “Day of the Lord” begins with seven years of tribulation and includes the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth. The event that ends the “Day of the Lord” is the “Great White Throne of Judgment” before which all the unsaved of eternity will stand and be judged.
The seven years of tribulation is most commonly referred to as “The Great Tribulation.” Other names are also applied to these seven years of tribulation. It is called “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” or “The Time of Israel’s Trouble.” The seven years of tribulation actually form the 70th week of Daniel’s prophetical seventy weeks found in Daniel 9:24-27. The weeks of the seventieth week of Daniel are recorded in Revelation 6-19 and Matthew 24 and 25. Now, back to Revelation 6 and the opening of the first seal. Here we see:
I. Conqueror Conquering (Revelation 6:1-2).
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 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.
Also turn to Matthew 24:4-5:
And Jesus answered and said unto them, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
Jesus tells His followers “not to be fooled.” Well, Revelation 6:1 is where many are going to be fooled. Here we find a king who comes riding in on a white horse speaking love and peace. We are immediately reminded of the Jesus of the Gospels and the Jesus who is riding a white horse in Revelation 19. But this is another ruler and you need to be careful. It is the Anti-Christ.
The Tribulation begins with a new ruler rising to power on the scene of world history. This is the leader that Daniel wrote about in Daniel 7, 9, and 11, who is coming to power in the end times. He is the one who “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
It’s easy for the child of God to get caught up in the world’s hype. If you listen to enough newscasts or read enough newspapers, you will start to believe anything. Our present world is all set to crown such a ruler king. It isn’t difficult for me to see how an allegiance to a counterfeit Christ could be easily developed and put in place right now, today.
The Bible teaches that this coming world ruler will be energized and strengthened by the power of Satan. Don’t be deceived by anyone who claims to have all the right answers. What our world needs today is Jesus. Do you have Him? Second, I want us to notice the:
II. Terrorist Terrorizing (Revelation 6:3-4).
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 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.
Also turn in your Bible to Matthew 24:6.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
The Red Horse of war, oppression, and trouble follows the White Horse of dictatorship. Readers of history already know what happens when usurpers seize power. Give Mussolini absolute power in Italy, he dreams of world power and begins his slaughter in Ethiopia. Give Hitler unchallenged power in Germany, he sets out to conquer the world. Let the little Corporal Napoleon Bonaparte seize power in France, he aims then that all Europe and bathes the nations in blood. Saddam Hussein was given total power in Iraq and soon through ethnic cleansing hundreds of thousands of people died. He ran out of things to do and people to kill so he invaded Kuwait where he killed, looted, raped and pillaged that nation. I could go on forever talking about the inclinations of despots who rise to power. I want to emphasize one thing, you haven’t seen anything yet. The Anti-Christ will eclipse them all and leave them in shame.
What happens when the Red Horse appears on the scene. Three things. First,
a. Peace Is Ended.
Efforts to bring world peace are constantly being advocated by world leaders. Whether we are talking about world peace or individual peace, it is never going to come without Jesus being on the throne.
So the wars and slaughter of this age we live in are the beginning of sorrows. The Red Horse pictures the end of peace on earth when the Anti-Christ seizes power. Second,
b. People are Killed.
We cannot predict how many people will be killed during the tribulation. In Revelation 6:8, one fourth of the population is killed. During the sixth seal of judgment, one third of the people left on the earth will be eliminated. Together this is half of the earth’s population.
These figures do not include the other judgments found in Revelation that indicate death and destruction to the people of the earth. Chapter 8 tells of men dying because of poisoned water, an earthquake will kill seven thousand in chapter 11, the demon possessed army of the Anti-Christ of two hundred million men are going to be killed at Armageddon in chapter 14. I don’t believe anyone who accepts Christ during the tribulation will survive until Christ comes and sets up His kingdom. What a devastating bunch of killing. Then,
c. Power Is Centralized.
In our text the rider is given a “great sword” emphasizing unusual powers and authority. All military and governmental power is given to this rider on the Red Horse. Third,
III. Tyrant Troubling (6:5-6).
When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come.” 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.”
Also turn with me to Matthew 24:7-8:
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Black pictures death resulting from famine and starvation. Lamentations 4:8 speaks of the appearance of famine stricken people as being “blacker than soot.”
Armies have burned the fields and ravished the storehouses. Nuclear and biochemical warfare has laid the land waste. Stark famine comes. The Black Horseman brings two things:
a. The Economy Is Going to Change.
The “pair of scales” suggests that the economic balance of things are going to be altered. Inflation will occur like we have never seen. The great depression, recession, and the lack of money is going to change the world economy to a credit based economy.
Weigh out the food carefully! It is scarce! Governmental interference with crops and prices, wild spending, welfare programs mean inflated prices and court disaster.
b. The Equity Is Going to Change.
Food prices will rise dramatically but oil and wine used in the houses of the rich will not change. One days wage for a quart of wheat, not enough for two people and a quart of booze can be bought for a song. With prevalence of the current famine in our world and the over abundant consumption and abuse of alcohol, one could easily see how this prediction could be a reality within months.
How easy it is for us to forget the realities of our world living in America. We are but a step away from the Black Horse. Last, see
IV. Death Destroying (6:7-8).
When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” 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.
The Pale Horse is the color of a corpse and goes well with the rider with the name of its rider ---- ---- “Death.” Some see this as the summary of the four horsemen and the consequence of their activity. This rider is followed by Hades. We know it better by the name Hell, the living place of the wicked dead.
The rider on this horse is given power to kill one fourth of the world’s population. Today’s population figures are changing rapidly. But, if Revelation 6:8 happened yesterday at 10 a.m., that would be one billion six hundred and twenty-five thousand people. That would be all the people in Europe, North America, Latin America and the Carribean together. Can you put your mind around that?
The current studies regarding the AIDS problem and the Swine Flu epidemic have brought this passage into clearer understanding. The world has been affected already by plagues and diseases that has caused millions of deaths. Then the wild beasts will kill many by their ferocious attacks. Isn’t this something to look forward to? Amen! God help us!
You might ask, “Is there any hope for us?”
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are enough to reveal the horror and catastrophe of the coming tribulation. And guess what, these judgments are merely the beginning of the tragedies that will affect planet earth.
Hope is only found in a personal faith and commitment to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Have you made the important decision to commit your life and future to Jesus Christ? Jesus is the One who died for your sins, and Who rose again from the dead to guarantee eternal life and a future bodily resurrection for all who will trust Him. Acts 4:12 tells us salvation will be found no where else but in Jesus, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
In a moment we are going to be singing a song of invitation. It is your invitation to come and receive Christ. It is also your invitation to come and follow the Lord in believer’s baptism. And, it is your opportunity to come and join the fellowship of this church family. Won’t you come as we sing.
FBC, Hughes 08/16/09