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End Times Posse

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Rev. 6:1-8


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The next event on God’s prophetic timetable is the rapture of the church.    But after the church is taken out of here, meanwhile…back on earth, there will follow a 7 year period like this earth has never experienced before.  The Bible calls it the Great Tribulation.  Chapters 6-19 paint for us a graphic picture of this gruesome period…it is so terrible / frightening / horrible that you will think I’m exaggerating, overstating the matter, until you see these verses for yourself.


But remember what Jesus said about the tribulation back in

Matt. 24:21 “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world, unto this time, no, nor ever shall be.”


        That is an amazing statement when you think of all the wars/famines/diseases/earthquakes/tornadoes/hurricanes/volcanic eruptions.  You think of all the atrocities that have taken place all over this earth from the time of Adam and Eve, even until now…and Jesus said, add it all together, and none of it can compare to what the world is about to experience in the great tribulation.


In the OT, Jeremiah said this about the tribulation:  “I see every man w/ his hands on his loin as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness.  Alas, for that day is great, so that none is like it, it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble.”

        These verses teach us that in the tribulation, men will wrap their arms around themselves like women giving birth, and that everyone’s faces will be ashen gray at the terrible, frightening things happening on this dust ball earth…and the whole world will be focused upon what happens in the nation Israel.


Daniel 12:1, “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time, and at that time, Thy people shall be delivered, everyone found written in the book.”


What God gave to John in Rev. 6-19 is a vision of unspeakable horror.


Chapter 5 tells of a 7 sealed scroll…the title deed to the earth.  The question was asked, Who is worthy to open that scroll, and reclaim ownership of the earth from Satan?  We find that Christ alone is worthy!  The Lamb is also the Lion!


Now, in ch. 6, the scroll begins to be peeled back…and 1 at a time the seals are broken.  And as the seals are broken, the horrors of the tribulation are turned loose upon the earth, and they unfold before our very eyes.


The first four seals involve the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.  Let’s look at them one at a time:


1.               As we open the first seal and look at the first horseman on the white horse, I want you to think of the word Dominion.

v. 1-2       “thunder”=indicates a storm is coming.  It’s the sound of heavy hooves galloping this way!

Who is this rider on the white horse, unleashed on the earth at the beginning of the tribulation?  Some might think it’s Jesus Christ, but it’s not…that doesn’t come until the end of the tribulation.

Rev. 19

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns

That’s Jesus Christ coming at the end of the tribulation…but that’s not the description given here in ch. 6.  Matter of fact, the only similarity is the white horse.


So, if the rider on this white horse in ch. 6 is not Jesus Christ, then who is he?  I believe him to be the anti-christ…a phony!

        In the Bible, a white horse symbolizes conquest.  A bow is a symbol of power and warfare, and a crown symbolizes dominion.  There is coming one last and final dictator to this earth…he’s the antichrist…he’s coming on a white horse as an imitator of Jesus Christ.  He is Satan’s great imitator/deceiver…and his deception is so convincing, that even the Jews, many of them, will believe him, and will think that their Messiah has finally arrived.

        He will come on a platform of peace, (notice: no arrows, just a bow) but this last world dictator will bring death and destruction to this earth.


You say, how is that possible?  How is this going to happen?


v. 2  “given unto him”  Yes. His power and his dominion are given unto him.  They are given to him by God.  It is God who will allow it to happen.

Listen to Rev. 17:17

17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

According to that verse, God will convince the rulers of the world to give their power to the anti-christ.


Satan will think that he’s in charge.  During the tribulation, the devil will think he’s calling the shots/running the affairs of earth…but it is God who will control it all.  Even when chaos seemingly rules, God is on the throne and in full control…but in essence, what God is doing is He’s giving mankind enough rope to hang himself with!


Ill.—chess       How did you learn to play?  By playing w/ someone who was better than you?  If so, I’m sure you’ve had that experience where you thought you were choosing all your own moves, but by the end of the game you were right where your opponent wanted you to be, and they are in full control.


In the tribulation, although man will still have some freedom to choose, by the end of the game everything will be according to God’s sovereign plan.

        We'll learn more about the anti-christ in chapters 13, 17 and 18…but when you open that first seal, and see the white horse ride by, think of that word Dominion.



2.               Think of the word Division, as you watch the red horse ride by.


v. 3-4       Red is the color blood/war.  The anti-christ comes on a platform of peace…and one of the things that will propel him to power is his plan which seems to be workable for world peace.  He will do something which has never been done…bring peace to the middle east…but it will not last…for at the mid point of the tribulation, after 3.5 years, the second seal is opened, and the rider of the red horse will snatch the peace from the earth.


THIS IS HUGE when you consider current events in the Mid East.  Israel is now at war with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, among others.  The warfront is on all sides, inc. the northern border.  Ezek. 38 & 39 are all about invaders from the north.  The Biblical land of Magog is Russia, predicted to be peaceful until suddenly they invade Israel.  Now, somebody remind me of the Middle Eastern nation that is the homeland and heart and soul of Russia.  That’s right, Iran!  That passage in Ezekiel talks of horsemen, bows and arrows…the same language John used in his Revelation.  Obviously, John is describing 21st C. events using his 1st C. language.  The signs of the times are everywhere.  Thank God if you are saved you will be long gone to heaven at this point!


It will come, first of all, in the form of nation against nation…and it will also come in the form of widespread violence, man against man.  Magog is prophesied to bring ‘many others’ with them…possibly the Arab Israel haters from the entire Mid East.  But definitely Libya and Ethiopia, which are named in Ezekiel.  The spirit of hatred will enflame the hearts of men.  Remember, at this point the church has already been taken away…and there’s no more salt to preserve, no more light to illuminate.  The Comforter and restrainer, the Holy Spirit, is no longer here.  That spirit of hatred will be so severe that a man will slit his mother’s throat w/out blinking an eye.  Brother will stab brother in the back, w/ no hesitation.  Parents will turn against their own children!


Can you imagine the confusion, the chaos that will rule.  You think we live in a violent society now?…well, it’s nothing compared to the malicious slaughter which will take place during the tribulation.  Dead bodies will lie in the streets/groaning and suffering will be everywhere, and the stench of death will reek in the air.


The Red horse speaks of division.



3.               Depravation…as the black horse rides by.


v. 5-6       Here is a time of famine.  Here is a time of economic disaster/wholesale starvation.  War spreads across the world from the mid-east, and food and fuel become more and more scarce.

“Balances”=old fashioned scales…representing scarcity of food.  During the tribulation, food will be weighed like gold.


v. 6  measure of wheat/3 measures of barley

                This represents one day’s food supply in that day, and the penny represents one day’s wages at that time.  So, during the tribulation, a man will have to work all day—and it will be all he can do just to buy enough food for that day.  It will be all a person can do just to keep body and soul together and alive.


Again, we already live in a world of perpetual hunger.  We tend to forget, or not even believe that here in the land of plenty…but it’s true.  1/3rd of the world is starving/1/3rd is underfed/and if you’ve got enough to eat, you’re in the upper third!  But a world-wide famine is coming in the tribulation on an unprecedented scale.


v. 6  “see thou hurt not the oil and wine”

                These represent the luxury foods of John’s day.  The horseman was told not to tamper w/ these items.  In the tribulation, the poor will get poorer, and the rich will get richer.  The elite group of the wealthy will retain their riches thru a moral sellout to the antichrist, and they will be the few who will carry on in normal fashion, as the vast majority are totally deprived.


The black horse represents starvation and deprivation like the world has never seen.


White-dominion-antichrist             Red-division-war/violence



4.     Let’s watch as the 4th horseman rides by, and as we do, think of the word “Death”.


v. 7-8       “pale” comes from Greek word cloros (chlorine/chlorophyll), and speaks of a gastly green color…it’s the idea of a body that has turned green and rotten w/ decay…and according to v. 8 during the tribulation, 1/4th of the world’s population will die.  Think about that and let that soak in.  Right now, that represents well over 1.5 billion people!  How will this happen?  This is just speculation, but that could include something like germ / biological warfare, or something nuclear in nature on a national level.


Dr. Frank Holtman, head of Univ. of Tennessee’s bacteriological department said, “While the greater part of a city’s population could be destroyed by an atomic bomb, the bacteria method might easily wipe out most of the population of the earth within a week’s time.”


What an unbelievable chain reaction will take place:


First, the antichrist will come w/ dominion/then war will come w/ division/famine will come w/ deprivation/then death will come to over a billion people…it would be impossible to bury them all!  But that’s not the end of it…John saw 2 personalities associated w/ this pale horse…look again:


v. 8  Capital ‘D’ Death….and Hell followed…

        This means that while death claims the body, hell claims the soul…after death comes hell and judgment, and no one will be able to escape…no one will be able to pull the dirt over their face.


You say, Bro. Jerry, you’re just trying to scare me!…

        …if you’re not saved, I wish I could!

Although fear motivation is not the very best motivation to get saved…it’s not a bad motive…matter of fact, wise is the man or woman who recognizes the wrath to come and asks God to save them from it (saved from hell!)


The Bible says when Noah built that ark he was moved w/ fear of what was coming.  If you’re not saved and this message scares you, you’ve got good reason to be afraid!…for these 4 horsemen are ready to ride…they’re saddled up, and if you’ll put your ear to the ground I think you’ll hear them coming!


The stage is set for the rapture of the church…and these seals will begin to be opened, and these 4 horsemen will ride.


Now, it’s not just the religious world that’s warning that the world is headed for chaos.  Even the secular world is feeling a sense of impending doom.


George Borgstrom in his book “Hungry Planet” said, “it is sobering to realize that no part of the world, in the event of serious crop failure, is more than 1 year away from critical starvation.  And even in the rich United States, with all it’s surpluses, we are not more than 2 years away.”  That’s the secular world speaking there.

        Doctors and scientists are continuously learning of new strains of bacteria which are resistant to all known antibiotics…and doctors around the world are becoming alarmed at the possibilities of the greatest outbreak of disease the world has ever seen.  SARS contains animal viruses, and then you’ve got things like the bird flu which had the CDC in a panic, and v. 8 says this pale rider death kills w/ ‘the beasts of the earth.’


Jesus said, in the last days there will be a great increase in earthquakes, famines, and pestilence (incurable diseases).  And you cannot watch the news today w/out seeing all 3 regularly.  If you’ll pick up your Bible in one hand, and a newspaper in the other, it’s hard to be blind to the fact that we are in the closing shadows of this age.  The flames of judgment are on the horizon…things are nearing the conclusion.


The bottom line?

If you’re not saved…you’d better get saved. 


Let me tell you something about salvation/forgiveness of sins:

        It is so precious/valuable, that God refuses to allow you to buy it/earn it/work for it…but if you’re willing to receive it as a free gift, God will give it to you!  Fear of these future events is not a bad reason at all to get saved, but there’s so many positive benefits to salvation that I have to confess, even if there was no hell, I’d still want to be a Christian!


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All Sermons and PowerPoint Slideshow Presentations ©Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries® unless otherwise credited.  These resources are yours to use freely, but only in public worship services or private study groups and devotions.  They may not be sold, republished or retransmitted in any form without written permission.