Men have always yearned to know what the future holds. Leaders, and indeed all people, want to be enabled to make wise or profitable decisions for their country, their family or themselves. Folk study everything from history to astrology to find their answers. But it is only in God’s Word that the truth can be found.
Very simply only the Lord Almighty, the One who created this very special world and the whole universe, knows the whole future. He has graciously chosen to reveal some clear stepping stones so that men can walk under the care of the ‘Good Shepherd’. He has provided for us to be ready for the traumatic days that lie ahead.
Many preachers like to proclaim peace, joy, love and prosperity. But Jeremiah was commissioned to warn the people of his day that peace was not what God had planned. Though he was also tasked with ‘building’. But that would only come after the just destruction of Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon. The people persecuted this prophet of God for 40 years.
Of the 862 Biblical prophecies 662 have already been fulfilled, 89 partly fulfilled and 117 await the day of their fulfilment.
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Almighty God always keeps his promises and fulfills what he has prophesied.
Thankfully, both the past and the future remain in his hands.
So it would be wise if we sought to understand the days in which we live.
Let us be like the men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do. 1 Ch 1232
In the book of Revelation chapters 6-20 often remain neglected. They describe what Almighty God wants us to know about the Tribulation of the last days.
This section opens with the time when Jesus, the risen Christ opens the 7 seals. The first 4 are ‘the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’. They are commanded to “Come!”. They initiate a battle that kills ¼ of the world’s population.
We will try to understand what God commands these four to do during this great battle and its aftermath; by reading in Revelation and other books of the Bible. The two other two great battles in Rev. (at the return of Jesus and Gog/Magog battle after the Millennium reign of Christ) are beyond the scope of this article.
Before looking at the horsemen, it would be helpful read what Jesus taught the apostles recorded in Matthew 24. His first 7 word sentence (v.4) was, “See that no one leads you astray.” And he twice repeated this warning in Math 2411 and 24 Since it was the Son of God who spoke thus, it would be very unwise to ignore it.
1. The White Horse
Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. Rev 61,2
The Moody Bible Commentary says, “This one is best understood as the conquering beast, the evil ruler of the tribulation period (Dan 9:26-27), who is a wicked parody of Jesus. He would establish world sovereignty by force.”
How will the rider, the leader, conquer and domineer? Largely by deceit + fear.
He may initially be elected, like Hitler, but if so, the democracy will very quickly become a dictatorship.
How will he rule?
a) By signs and wonders.
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. Math 2424
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, ... and blasphemous names on its heads. ... One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marvelled as they followed the beast. And they worshipped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast. Rev 131-4
Then I saw another beast ... It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast ... It performs great signs, ... and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth. Rev 1311-14 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. Rev 1920 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. 2 Thes 29,10
Signs and wonders are always popular and exciting, even intoxicating. It is so easy to assume that they are all good and must therefore be ‘of God’. But it is easy to forget that Satan also has power to do wonders, to heal and to impress.
Godly discernment by carefully reading all the Scriptures will be vital and rare in the last days. Take heed to the warnings that Jesus gave us.
b) Economic Pressure
There are numerous ways that even democratic leaders can achieve their goals.
Prior to 23rd June 2016 the Cameron government and the Media applied continuous warning of dire economic poverty if UK left the EU. They failed on this occasion by 52 to 48%. And UK has gained rather than lost compared with the EU in the following 6 years.
COP 26 was another fear campaign based upon the very doubtful mantra that CO2 is what has caused the global warming. Much of the graphics presented has been purposefully selective or ‘doctored’. Every unusual weather event anywhere in the world is reported as being caused by Global Warming, the direct result of man’s excessive use of fossil fuel emitting CO2. One might think there had never been a drought or a storm in earlier years. Growing national debt can only increase inflation. How will the $130,000 billion cost of reducing CO2 be paid? It is not possible. The Government provision for public heath or social welfare is generally good in UK, but such dependence can also make many very susceptible.
Democratic central and local government have failed to reduce the widening gap between the top 10% and bottom 20% salaries/wages. It continues to be as Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” Math 2611
c) Political Power and Legislation
In the UK (post EU) democracy is still effective. But the international inter-dependence of nations is heading towards a ‘one world’ government. This is certainly prophesied in Dan 7 and 8. And it will not be headed by an elected ruler, but by the most evil ‘Master of Intrigue’. He will make the current rulers of North Korea, China, Iran and Afghanistan seem quite pleasant guys! Democracy will become history. He and his winger, the ‘False Prophet’ (revealed in Rev 13) will be so corrupt that the King of Kings will have to come and rescue Israel and his creation (Rev 20).
What, or more probably who this power is remains unknown. It could be the Russia/China axis leader, maybe a Muslim power base like Iran (an Ayatollah), or even the UN that is so biassed against Israel, though the latter has no military power. Scripture seems to point to an individual rather than an organisation or nation.
Some people just love to dominate others - and not only men! Some are good considerate leaders, but with others it is the raw power that is attractive. The desire to dominate is seen at the family level as well as over a nation.
Remember ‘power corrupts, and absolute power ...’
d) Military Power
This will include the civil police who are also under government control. No leader / king can remain in power unless he first controls a military corp. This is why there is such strong debate for/against gun control in the USA.
Today government weaponry, communications, drone force and cyber craft is increasingly technical and sufficiently effective to subdue any opposition and thus able to dominate / conquer.
e) Media Influence
Newspapers, TV and social media have far more influence than many realise. Journalist reports trumpet their opinions more than telling us the news facts; especially if it sells more ‘copy’. Many will magnify and invent to make their reports more ‘spicy’. Fake news on social media is very difficult to discern and quickly does it’s damage. Using two or more sources is helpful, but few have the time or ability to do sufficient research. Even pictures can be fairly easily ‘altered’. Pictures of floods or fire or drought etc are always of the most extreme areas / subject. This encourages us to think that the whole area is like the picture, when it isn’t. The media have the ability to control what they think we should know, or not know; and what is important. Instant reporting and pictures from anywhere in the world using smart phones is staggering. And what the journalist determines what is reported. It may, or not be the truth. It is rarely ‘the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’.
Extremist groups have also been very skilful ‘behind the scenes’. ‘Stonewall’ members often in Downing St. and advisors like Blair’s Alastair Campbell have very considerable influence.
‘Freedom of the press’ is important, but it is often greatly abused, particularly in the private affairs of well-known people.
f) Spiritual Power
There is also the effect of the unseen spiritual power which will be alongside the political, military and media. And this is scary. Dan 84, 23-25 says None could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great. ... a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. ... And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.
Morality has hugely changed in the last 70 years. In what is now considered ‘normal’, and what is right or wrong. Successive popularised governments have overthrown the normal Christian, Biblical moral codes. Sex before marriage is no longer called fornication or ‘living in sin’! Homosexuality and abortion murder were legalised in 1967. We have seen the truth of God’s amazing creation ditched in favour of the Evolution Theory lie. The Sabbath has been abandoned. But there is much more to come. The ‘stern-faced king’ will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. Dan 725 Blasphemy will be practised on a far higher plane. We are not told the details of his power or how he will use it, except that it will be very distinctly Satanic and evil.
Recent years have clearly brought us much nearer to when this 1st Horseman will ride forth. However we shall see very much more yet. As Jesus said, “Many will be deceived.” Very few will be able to discern the truth.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Tim 43,4
2. The Red Horse
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. Rev 63,4
History is one long catalogue of men not having what they want and then resorting to war to try and gain it. The last century saw WW1 in which 10 million died. Deluded men called it ‘the war to end all wars’. How wrong they were. Just 21 years later WW2 started. This time the death toll was over 50 million.
At the end the ‘Red Horse’ is called forth and takes away any inhibition there may have been. Men will go to war like never before. There will be no distinction between the military and the civilians. And ¼ of the world’s population will die in battle or the famine and plague that follow it. ~2,000 million will die. That is 40 x more than WW2. Satan will be so pleased. There is no time scale; we do not know whether it will be a few days or whether it will drawn out over years. In about 700 BC a single angel of the Lord slew 185,000 of the army of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria in one night. The king had made the foolish mistake of insulting the Lord God of Israel. See 2 Kg 19. For comparison, on the first day of the WW1 battle of the Somme 19,240 British lost their lives.
These four Horsemen come at the start of the 7 year Tribulation, so it will be clear when the time has come.
3. The Black Horse
When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be 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 wine!” Rev 65,6
One of the modern statistics that should concern us is that in UK we now have to import 40% of our food. In the days following the Red Horse deaths, where will anyone get the ‘staple’ food they need? Olive oil and wine will not be affected.
This is a strange detail. Barley bread is only made by the poor. 4 quarts of flour for a full day’s wage for a whole family would mean there was little or nothing left for anything else i.e. famine.
4. The Pale Horse
When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. Rev 67,8
Following war and famine and the total breakdown of the NHS (and all the other medical luxuries that much of the modern world have become accustomed to), disease inevitably marches out to destroy many who are left. The ‘wild beasts’ kill and eat many too. But who / what these beasts are we are not told. In desperate days men can easily behave like beasts, or worse!
Note that it is Christ who opens each seal in turn, and each horse is called forth by one of the four heavenly Living Creatures. Who the horsemen are is not disclosed. But the rider of the white horse cannot be Christ for the simple reason that a Living Creature would never command Christ to come forth. Christ, the ‘Faithful and True’ rides a different white horse in Rev 1911