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Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

If you want to know what will happen on earth following the rapture, these 4 horsemen gives us an idea. We read in verse one, "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see." There was a “noise of thunder.” The thunder indicates that a storm is approaching. The storm that is about to descend upon the earth is a storm of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth.

Let’s notice the breaking of the first 4 seals as symbolized by the 4 horsemen.


The first we see is the rider of the white horse. We read in verse 2, "And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." There are many who describe this horseman as the Lord Jesus because of the similarities found in Revelation 19. However, this horseman is not the Lord Jesus. It is Christ who broke the seal, therefore He would not be the rider. There are similarities, but there are specific differences.

The “crown” this rider wears is different from the crown that the Lord Jesus wears. The word “crown” used to describe what is worn by the rider of the white horse is the Greek word stephanos which is a crown won as a prize. The Lord Jesus is portrayed wearing a different kind of crown: "His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns" (Rev. 19:12). The word “crowns” is the Greek word diademas which speaks of a royal crown. It is a crown that is inherited because of who the person is, not a crown that has been won or received Please note that the crown of the rider of the white is “given unto him.” His crown was given to him by others. This is a crown that has been won. Jesus did not win His crown because He was victorious. His crown is not a prize He won, but as King of kings, a crown that was His by virtue of Who is, not what He has done.

Furthermore, the rider of the white horse carries a bow. In Revelation 19 we see the Lord Jesus carrying a sword.

The similarities of the rider of the white horse and Christ indicate that this is a false Christ, the antichrist. He comes riding on a white horse because he is a counterfeit of the real Christ. The similarities exist because he presents himself and promotes himself as the Christ. We will learn much more about this rider in later studies but the Bible describes a world leader that will proclaim himself the promised Messiah. During the tribulation period this individual will step onto the stage of the world and will play a leading role in the end-time events.

Notice a couple of features about the anti-Christ as described by verse 2:

A) The Accomplishments of this Rider

The Bible says "he went forth conquering, and to conquer." As a conqueror he is one that will rise to a place and power and rule. He will rise to a place of world-wide leadership. The fact that his crown is given to him, indicates that his place of leadership in the world is one given to him or granted by the other leaders of the world. He will be made the leader of the world by the leaders of the world. He will be handed world dominion.

He is described as carrying a bow, but note he does not carry an arrow or arrows. The indication is that he will conquer without bloodshed. As we would say, he will rise to power without firing a shot. His rise to leadership will not be by military power and strength. How will the anti-Christ rise to conquer the world? He will do so by providing a remedy to the problems of the world and ushering in a time of international peace. He will step onto the world stage when the world has a desperate desire for world peace. That longing for international peace will play right into his hands and he will convince the world that he can bring peace to the world.

Daniel gives us this picture: "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week" (Dan. 9:27). The antichrist will lead the world into a peace agreement with Israel. I find it very interesting that the majority of strife in the world involves Israel. It is the hatred of Israel by the Muslim world that has us in war this very hour. The anti-Christ will be a person that will actually create a peace-agreement that will bring a period of peace into the world.

Furthermore, notice:

B) The Appointment of this Rider

It is this accomplishment that makes him the conqueror or leader of the world. It for this reason that he is made the leader of the world by the nations of the world. Because of his accomplishments he is given a crown. The world stage is being set for such a person. This world is desperate for someone who can promise peace and bring peace to the world.

Arnold Toynbe said many years ago: “We are ripe for someone who can promise to give peace and to give tranquility on the earth. We will deify that individual if he comes.”

He will come! I call this rider one of deception because the peace that he will bring to this world will be a false sense of peace. His whole agenda will be one of deception, especially concerning Israel. As we will see in the next rider, this peace will be short lived, as the anti-Christ begins to carry out his real agenda of becoming a world dictator and the ultimate destruction of Israel.

Someone might say that it will be impossible that such a person could rise to such power in the world in which we live. Yet, that is exactly what Hitler did, although on a smaller scale. Hitler had outlined in detail his plans for conquest in his book Mein Kampf, published more than a decade before WWII began. Yet, the Western Allies, persisted in believing Hitler’s false claim to be a man of peace. They stood idly by as he reoccupied the Rhineland (demilitarized after WWI), thus abrogating the Versailles Treaty. Then he annexed Austria, the Sudetenland, and Czechoslovakia. British Prime Minister Nevile Chamberlain met with Hitler at Munich in 1938. Upon his return to England, Chamberlain triumphantly waved a piece of paper that contained a pledge of peace from Hitler, which he claimed guaranteed peace. Winston Churchill rose in the house of commons to declare that England that suffered a total, unmitigated defeat. He was shouted down by angry members of Parliament. The deception was nearly universal. Only after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 did the allies acknowledge the truth. By then it was too late. The anti-Christ will be the same and do the same, only on a world-wide scale. This world is ripe for such a person to step to center stage.

Notice the second rider and in him we see:


With the breaking of the second seal, as stated earlier, the peace that the ride of the white horse brings will be short lived. We read in verse 3-4, "And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. [4] And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword."

Red is the color of fire and blood. This rider and horse is a depiction of war and dissension among the nations of the world. As we look closer we see:

A) The Conditions That Are Shattered

Peace is taken from the earth. The reference to earth indicates this is a world-wide event that happens. The conditions of peace are suddenly shattered and the world is thrust into a global-war. Jesus said in Matthew 24:6-7, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. [7] For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."

The time of peace ends which will lead to:

B) The Conflict That Is Started

There is given to this second rider “a great sword.” The word “sword” refers to the short, stabbing sword used by a Roman soldier in battle. It is a “great” sword describing the extent of the war. The antichrist will rise to power by doing what no one else has been able to do, bring peace to the troubled Middle East. He will pose as Israel’s protector and defender. But shortly thereafter, having established himself a the leader of the world, his true colors will show through. He will attempt to dominate the world as a dictator, setting off world-wide conflict that will last through out the rest of the tribulation period.

We read in Daniel 8:24, "And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people." He will be a mighty ruler energized by Satan himself. He will war against the leaders of the world and especially against Israel.

Notice the third rider. In him we see:


We read of the breaking of the third seal in verses 5-6, "And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. [6] And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine."

Black is associated with famine. This world-wide war will result in a world-wide famine. Jesus said in Matthew 24:7, "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines..." The Bible describes the conditions that will exist as being:

A) Extreme Conditions

A pair of scales are seen in the hand of this third rider. The picture is of rationing of food that results from this famine. People will be standing in food lines due to the scarcity of food that exists or is available.

Some can remember the rationing of food and items during WWII. After Roosevelt declared war, the need for war materials increased, and consumer goods took a back seat to military production. Rationing began on such things as meat, cheese, canned goods, sugar, butter, shoes and gasoline. The typical allocation of sugar was 12 ounces per week. Coffee had an allowance of 1 pound for a 5-week period. One pair of shoes was the norm between February 1943 and October 1945.

In order to purchase food, a point system was created. Ration books were distributed. Each coupon in the ration book entitled its owner to buy a specific number of gallons of gasoline (average of 3 gallons a week). Once all the coupons were used, no more gasoline could be purchased until the beginning of the next designated period.

Such conditions will once again come on the world. These extreme conditions will result in:

B) Expensive Conditions

Certain measures are described. There is a "measure of wheat" which is about a quart. There were 3 quarts of barley also described. Barley is a cheap form of wheat, mostly used for livestock. John explains how such a small ration will cost a penny. We must not think of a penny as we know a penny. The word speaks of a "denarius" which represented one day’s wages for the average worker. Food will become very expensive, that is, what food you can find.

Note the words “see thou hurt not the oil and wine.” This is descriptive of the basic food staples which will become priceless luxuries and will need to be carefully protected.

Lastly, notice:


We read of the breaking of the fourth seal in verses 7-8, "And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. [8] And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." This is not Clint Eastwood as the Pale Rider. The word "pale" means "ashen." We get our words “chlorophyll” and “chlorine” from the word which refers to a sickly, pale, yellow-green color.

The rider is clearly identified as Death. The world-wide events lead to widespread death. Notice further the details of the death this rider brings. First, notice:

A) The Population Death Affects

A “fourth part of the earth” dies. We see death on a massive scale. At today’s number of a population of 6 billion, this would be approximately 1.5 million deaths.


B) The Procedure Death Adopts

Death used 4 tools or means. First, there is the "sword" which speaks of war. Then there is "famine" which indicates that many will die of starvation. The word "death" refers to disease as the cause of death. Many will die from diseases of various sorts. It is interesting that during times of war, disease has killed more people than war itself. During the Civil War more soldiers died from disease than were killed in battle. During the great influenza epidemic of 1918-19,  30 million people died – more than 3 times the estimated 8.5 million soldiers who died in battle during WWI. Disease will be a great instrument of the rider of the pale horse. "Beasts" will also be on of the methods by which he will bring death upon the earth. Many believe this is a reference to rats. Rats have been responsible for uncounted millions of deaths throughout history, both by eating food supplies and spreading disease. There is the Black-Death of the fourteenth century, an outbreak of bubonic plaque that wiped out one-third to one-fourth of Europe which was a rat-borne disease.





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