Prophecy – Part 68 – Fourth Seal – The Pale Horse, Revelation 6:7-8

For today’s study we will be looking at the Pale Horse, the fourth seal, from Revelation 6:7-8.  The fourth seal gives us the thundering appearance of the Pale Horse and its rider, the Antichrist.

NOTE:  The Amplified New Testament translates the word PALE as “ashy pale horse” (black and blue as if made so by bruising).   Remember, this is not yet the end of time–more about this later in our study.

The Pale Horseman must, as the first three, appear before the end time.  But what happens under his attack upon earth is such devastation that it boggles the mind.

NOTE:   This rider also seems to represent the terrible devastation caused by the antichrist and his government or the antichrist himself.

Let’s think about some things that are important:

The rider on the pale horse (the antichrist) has a name, that of death, and coming along right behind him is hell or Hades, the realm of the dead.  His name announces that some terrible devastation is about to be set loose on the earth.  As we review the circumstances which the Pale Horse will create, we need to remember some things.

  • John saw these enemies (death and Hades, Revelation 1:18, 6:8) following the rider of the pale horse.  We need to remember that one day both death and Hades will be cast into hell (Revelation 20:14).
  • Death claims the body while Hades claims the soul of the dead (Revelation 20:13).  John saw these two going forth to claim their prey, armed with weapons, a sword, hunger, pestilence (death), and wild beasts.

In ancient times, hunger, pestilence and the ravages of beasts would be expected to accompany war (see Jeremiah 15:2; 24:10; Ezekiel 14:21).

  • The Lord Jesus Christ has the keys of death and Hades (Revelation 1:18); BOTH will one day be cast into hell (Revelation 20:14).
  • Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.  Remember, He is eternal.  He has conquered death, and He CAN DELIVER us from judgment and hell.  He has the keys to unlock both death and hell and to deliver us from the bondage of both.  Christ has the keys of death and Hades (Revelation 1:18).

DO NOT LET SATAN DECEIVE YOU.  PEOPLE GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION OF THEIR OWN VOLITION.  THEY HAVE DECIDED TO REJECT CHRIST.

NOTE:  That which is indicated to happen on earth may cause you some depression.  Why?  Because of what those who are still on earth will be going through (after the Rapture).

Remember, they decided to reject God’s Son; it is everyone’s responsibility to accept or reject.  If they reject they must accept their own responsibility for that decision.  This is indicated in Matthew 7:13-14, etc.  You cannot make the decision for them.  However, if you have faithfully witnessed to them while here on earth then you have nothing to feel guilty about.  It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to draw people to God by the use of His Word.  Our job is to simply tell them “how” to be saved (John 3:16), then it up to them to accept or reject.

CONQUERING TYRANTS IS NOTHING NEW. 

Conquering tyrants who bring the world war, famine and pestilence (disease, germ warfare) is certainly nothing new.  Suffering people from the days of the Roman Empire to the most recent war can easily recognize anticipations of these four dreaded horsemen.

NOTE:  This is why the Book of Revelation has been a source of encouragement to suffering believers throughout history.  As they see the Lamb opening the seals, they realize that God is in control and that His purposes will be accomplished.

Let’s consider the question:  “Will the Christian go through the Tribulation period?”  The Pretribulation Rapture view, is the view that I hold to.   This holds that the Church in its  entirety will be raptured (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)  BEFORE the beginning of the prophetic career of Satan’s human agent, the Beast out of the sea (2 Thessalonians 2:8) and the beginning of the “seventieth week” of Daniel 9.  

This view appears the strongest view for the following reasons.

1.The Church appears to be divorced from the Tribulation Age. If the Church were on earth at this time, it seems that there would be some direct reference to it. None is found between Revelation 4:1 and 19:7. It is significant that the Church is unrelated to the divine purpose, ministry and people of Tribulation age.

The Church is unrelated to the divine purpose for the Tribulation Age.

A divine purpose for the Tribulation Age is to prepare saved earth dwellers who are living in the Tribulation age for the Lord’s second coming to earth and His millennial rule.

  • This preparation will include His worldwide evangelistic mission through the ministry of the 144,000 Israelite evangelists and His two witnesses.
  • Also, His dealing with Israel is to bring about the repentance of the elect Jewish remnant, and His pouring of divine wrath upon wicked Gentiles.

NOTE:      The Church does not need this special preparation before her rapture.

2. The Church is unrelated to the ministries of the Tribulation Age.

There will be two successive divine ministries during the first half of the Tribulation Age:

  • There will be the ministry of the 144,000 saved Israelite evangelists who will preach the gospel of the kingdom throughout the world with unprecedented results (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 7).
  • These will be martyred at the beginning of the second half of the Tribulation Age by Satan through his human agent, the beast out of the sea, who will prohibit all gospel proclamation (Revelation 12:17; 14:1-5).

During the second half of the Tribulation Age, there will be the ministry of God’s two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-14).  Although he will prohibit any proclamation of the gospel, the Beast out of the sea will not be able to silence these two men.  They have been endowed with divine power; they will bear witness to the fact of God’s existence in the midst of a worldwide atheism.

Also, being prophets, they will cry out against the unprecedented sin and blasphemy of those days.  Moreover, they will declare that the world’s upheavals and distresses are visitations of divine wrath.  At the end of this period they will be killed, but they will be resurrected and will ascend into heaven, which the world will see.

Good question – If the Church is on earth during this time, WHY does God use these special forces rather than the Church?

3. The Church is unrelated to the gospel believers of the Tribulation Age.

Several groups of saved people belong to the Tribulation Age:

  • The 144,000 evangelists Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5.
  • The earlier martyrs of the forepart of the Tribulation Age (Revelation 6:9-11).
  • The later martyrs killed during the second half of the Tribulation Age (Revelation 7:9-17; 15:2); the elect Jewish remnant (see Revelation 12:13-14) and a few saved Gentiles, who will survive this age (Matthew 25:31- 34).
  • But nowhere is there any indication that the Church will be on earth during this time.

FACT:   An interval of time will be needed between the Church’s rapture and her return to earth with the Lord Jesus.

Because only the SAVED will enter Christ’s earthly kingdom, the Tribulation Age will be needed for the formation of a nucleus of saved people who will repopulate the millennial earth (Matthew 25:34).

Saved survivors of the Tribulation Age will enter the Kingdom with saved bodies, which will be capable of reproducing children and of transmitting the old nature to their offspring.

If the Church were raptured just before the Lord’s second coming, these survivors would be changed and raptured.

The Lord’s return for His Church is imminent.

His return may occur at any time.  This truth is indicated by the present tense “look” (Philippians 3:20), “to wait” (I Thessalonians 1:10) and “looking” (Titus 2:13).  The present tense speaks of the continuous expectancy that we should have toward the Lord’s coming.

Also, if the Church were to pass through part or all of the Tribulation Age, the Church would be aware of the time of the Lord’s return because of the many details that have been revealed about this age.

The knowledge gained in the Tribulation Age would diminish the concept of the imminent return of the LORD.  On the other hand, those gospel believers who will be living on earth during tribulation days will look forward to the Lord’s return to deal with their enemies and to establish His earthly kingdom (Matthew 24:42, 44).

The truth of His second coming will encourage those in the Tribulation Period to endure steadfastly unto death or unto His return (Matthew 24:13).  However, they will not have this sense of imminence until the very end of the Tribulation Age.

FACT:  There is no prophecy that must be fulfilled before the LORD’S coming for the Church.  Prophetic events, like the building of the Jewish temple at Jerusalem, may come to pass, but these are not prerequisites to His coming.  Many signs will attend His second coming to earth, but no sign save the trumpet blast, will signal His return for His Church….He could come today!

Thousands of Bible-believing Christians believe that the coming of the Lord for His church is imminent; that is, it could happen any day, any hour, any minute.  What do they believe will happen?

  1. The Rapture will take place as Jesus descends in the clouds (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).  He comes in the clouds but He will not touch down on earth as will happen when He returns to set up His thousand-year reign.
  2. The true believer will be taken up into the presence of the Lord Jesus.
  • Paul exhorted the Thessalonians “to wait for God’s Son from heaven” (I Thessalonians 1:10).
  • Also, the believer was told to “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) when their loved ones fell asleep in Jesus.   In other words, when their loved ones died.
  • Paul later wrote Titus that Christians should be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious   appearing of the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
  • The Apostle John records late in the first century the words of Christ to the disciples the night before he was crucified “…I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3, KJV).
  • Christians believe that when the event takes place that believers will be translated, that is will not die.  But will be taken alive into Jesus’ presence.  At the same moment, the dead in Christ will be raised from their graves and with those translated and will spend an eternity of bliss in the presence of the Lord.
  • They also believe that when translated they will instantly receive glorious bodies suited for life in heaven.

NOTE:  If the coming of Christ is in this age, it is truly imminent, then the Rapture must occur BEFORE the signs predicted in the book of Revelation occurs, [the horses of Revelation, for instance].

THERE IS A PRACTICAL VALUE OF THIS EXPECTANCY.

The truth of our Lord’s imminent return for His Church makes a great impact on the lives of all His people who believe it.

  • It comforts them in bereavement (I Thessalonians 4:18).
  • It causes patience with them in adversity (James 5:7-11; Romans 8:18.
  • It deters them from sinning (I John 3:2-3; Matthew 24:48-49).
  • It deters them from spiritual laziness (Romans 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-7).
  • It incites them to diligence (Luke 19:12-13).
  • It incites them to abiding in Christ (I John 2:28).
  • It incites them to have a love for Him and His return (2 Timothy 4:8).

The believer can profit from the Lord’s appeal to the Tribulation Age because saved people will be watching and ready for His return.

  • To be watchful is to keep awake or to be alert.
  • God has wisely withheld the time of the Lord’s return so that we, IN THE Age of Grace, might constantly be on the lookout for Him and always be occupied with our spiritual duties (Matthew 24:48-50; Romans 13:11-14).

The believer is to be ready for the soon return of Christ and to be ready is to be prepared for His return.  The question is: “Of what does this preparation consist?”  The answer is: “What would we do if we knew that the Lord was coming one week, one month or one year from now?”
Some of this preparation might include:

  • Making sure that we are truly saved – II Corinthians 13:5.
  • Putting our spiritual life in order, by focusing on Christ – Colossians 3:1-4.
  • Giving more time to prayer,” pray without ceasing” – I Thessalonians 5:17.
  • Giving more time to witness to unsaved friends and relatives – Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8.
  • Making right any sins in our lives – I John 1:9.
  • Clearing up any wrong doings with others – Mark 11:25,  Luke 6:37, Colossians 3:13.
  • Giving more time to Scripture meditation – Psalm 19:14, 104:34.
  • Seeking the Lord’s will for the remainder of our time here on earth – Romans 12:1-2.
  • Add your own thoughts about things needed to be changed in your life, not the life of someone else.

Some may consider preparation negative.  However, at the same time, you as a Christian should realize what a great blessing you have as you consider your Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalm 23).  Why?  Because you WILL NOT have to experience the Tribulation Age.  Why?  Because you, as a Christian, have been removed from earth and are now eternally existing in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven  (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

NOTE:   The rider on the pale horse (antichrist) will be given the power to cause unbelievable pain and suffering: he is going to be personally responsible for killing one fourth of the people on earth.  Wow, unbelievable!

Good question:  How can one person possibly kill one fourth of all the people on earth?  We are not given the time it takes to kill one fourth of the people.  However, we do have some hints on how it might take place.

NOTE:  We are talking about roughly over one billion people of today.  Consider just four ways this might happen.

  1. The sword {war and genocide} can help to kill that many people. Much can be accomplished by deliberately setting out a policy to eliminate or destroy a certain race or a group of people.  Hitler would be a good example.

It would take someone like Hitler to launch a larger, world-wide war, perhaps an atomic war upon earth, like the leader from North Korea is threatening today.

  1. Hunger and starvation can help to kill that many people. That is the rider can starve people and cause famine due to war and the rationing of food. Even controlling the sale of food throughout the earth.  If you will not worship Satan, then you cannot buy the food necessary to keep you and your family alive.

Stop and consider that reports tell us that last night 40,000+ children could have starved to death in the world. Due to wars, the scorched earth would be unfit for farming.  Think about how savage and lawless that people would become if they were starving and saw someone with a little food?

  1. Pestilence can help kill that many people: that is germ warfare and the diseases that result from the unsanitary conditions of refugee and concentration camps and from war and genocide. 

Think of the outcome of disease that will occur when the next war breaks out: the unsanitary conditions and the outbreak of both old and new diseases such as with the venereal diseases, flu epidemics, small pox, polio, measles, aids, and diphtheria.  Consider the fact that there will be little if any medical supplies.  Further, what is available will no doubt be available only to the rich.

  1. Wild beasts will help to kill many people. Due to war and the transplanting of people, billions of people, especially children will be homeless.  This rider is responsible for exposing people to the beasts of the forests and jungles who will be just as hungry and insane from the lack of food as people will be.

“An 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.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be FAMINES, and PESTILENCES, and EARTHQUAKES, in divers places” (Matthew 24:6-7, emphasis added, KJV).

NOTE:  The picture of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse is not a pretty picture.  Nevertheless, any thinking and honest person knows that it is a real possibility with the weapons of war that exist today.

The truth is: The Holy Scripture says that it is going to happen.  It will happen right before the events of the end time that are to be launched by God.  But as terrible as the four horsemen events are, they are not the worst judgments that are to take place upon the earth.  The worst will still be ahead when the end time itself is launched.  These judgments are just the seal judgments.  The end time judgments are called TRUMPET JUDGMENTS AND the BOWL JUDGMENTS.

Our prayer is: “Please God help us turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and then warn our families, neighbors, friends and others before the end comes.”