Revelation 6:1-8 The Beginning of the End Baased on W.A. Criswell’s Sermon https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1962/the-four-horsemen/ The Bible tells us many future events, but not all of them are pleasant. The account that we are reading is often referred to as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Apocalypse being the end of the world. The appearance of the four horsemen kick off a horrifying time period, the tribulation; and they do it the with a horrifying image, the image of suffering, death, and hell riding down upon the human population. Let’s consider that image this morning. I. The Horses A. The image is of four deadly beings each riding upon four powerful horses. B. To most of us, the horse is a majestic and beautiful creature. 1. That is because of our modern culture. 2. Many children grow up with playmates such as "My Little Pony" or reading books with unicorns. 3. That is not the way horses were viewed in Biblical days. a. Horses in Biblical days were viewed as powerful but fearsome weapons of war. b. Few people would have owned a horse in Jesus’ day. c. Perhaps they would have had an ox, or a donkey, or even a camel, but not a horse. d. Horses were mostly reserved for armies of the great kings and were used either in a cavalry or with their chariots. e. So to them, the horse was a picture of power, of war, of fear, and of death. 4. The Bible gives us a brief picture of how people viewed the horse. Job 39:19 Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? 20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. 21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. 22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. 23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. 24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. 25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. 5. So the very presence of the horse was one of fear and death. C. Each of these horses were different color (pigmentation). 1. \\2\\ The first white to represent purity. 2. \\4\\ The second red to represent blood or violence. 3. \\5\\ The third black to represent pain and suffering. 4. \\8\\ The fourth was called pale. a. The Greek word calls for a pale, greenish or grayish color. b. This would be the color of death as the body, starved for oxygen, is no longer able to supply sufficiently for to the skin. c. So this horse represents death itself. II. The Riders - There are four. A. The first carries a bow with no arrow, rides the white horse, and conquers. 1. Many think this is the Christ, Jesus Himself. a. They think this mainly because later in the Book of Revelation, Jesus does come to conquer and does ride a white horse. Re 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. b. There is no doubt that the Rider in Revelation 19 is Jesus, but I have doubts about the rider in Revelation 6. c. Why? (1) Because this is the wrong time. It is not time for Jesus to come to the earth yet. The earth still belongs to Satan. A major emphasis of the Revelation is that God is taking back the world that mankind lost, but He has not done it yet. It is too early for Jesus to come to the earth. (2) Because he is riding with the wrong companions. (a) To begin with, Jesus needs no companions. i. Whenever Jesus is in the company of another, He does everything for He is GOD. ii. When God appeared with the two angel to Abraham, as long as God was among them, the angels didn’t do anything. iii. When Jesus returns to the earth with the church behind Him, we will do nothing! (b) Jesus would never be one of four anything! i. Jesus is not one of the four horsemen for He could not be compared to any others. ii. If Jesus were one of these horsemen, there would only be ONE. (3) Because he is carrying the wrong weapon. The only weapon ever associated with God is the sword. This rider carries a bow—and a bow with no ammunition, no arrows. (4) This just does not sound like Jesus. d. Then who is the rider? 2. I think he is the anti-Christ. a. This is the beginning of the tribulation and the Bible tells us a key character that will be revealed soon after the church is removed. 2Thess 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, b. You can call him the wicked, the wicked one, the devil incarnate, but we often just call him the antichrist. 3. Turn to Matt 24 and notice a Bible passage where Jesus outlined the future events. Matt 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 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. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. a. Notice that this is Jesus’ end-time outline. (1) In \\8\\ He called this the beginning of the time of sorrows. (2) I believe we are safe in saying this section describes the beginning of the tribulation. b. Notice one of the first things that happens during this time. (1) \\5\\ Many false Christs will come. (a) I can see that. (b) After the rapture of the church and in the midst of the chaos and confusion it causes, can you not see many people standing up to proclaim, "I am god!"? (2) In the midst of the many false Christs, one real anti-Christ is going to emerge. c. While we are looking at Jesus’ end-time outline, let’s notice a few other events. (1) \\7\\ "nation shall rise against nation" - That is war. (2) \\7\\ "famines" - That is plural meaning more than one. A famine is having no food. (3) \\7\\ "pestilences and earthquakes" - Both of those cause death and earthquakes cause much destruction on top of the deaths. 4. Back at Revelation 6, we see the rider of the white horse has a bow but no arrow, yet he conquers. Rev 6:2 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. a. If he had an arrow or arrows, we would figure he conquers by violence such as war. b. But having no arrows, he cannot conquer by war. c. How does he conquer? (1) He conquers through words. (2) Daniel said he would use flattery. Da 11:21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person… but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 5. Isn’t it amazing that one day the whole world is going to let the devil be their king because they like his words? a. The world is going to ASK the devil to be their world leader! b. Why would they do that? (1) First, because people are not very bright. We do not naturally have wisdom, discernment, or understanding. (2) Second, because the antichrist does not ride alone. He comes into power with three of the most horrible riders the world has ever seen, which means all four of these things are happening TOGETHER. B. \\4\\ The second rider rides the red horse and takes peace from the earth. Rev 6:4 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. 1. Remember Jesus’ end-time outline? One of the beginning of sorrows is "nation shall rise against nation." War. 2. We do not know for certain what will start it or who it will be between, but some think the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, where Russia and its hosts come down from the north against Israel, is the battle. 3. In the midst of war, people are going to be looking for someone with the answers! Someone who can offer peace. 4. However, it does not have to be a full-scaled world war. a. We have seen how people react these days when a natural disaster occurs. b. Remember Katrina from August, 2005? c. Notice who else rides with the antichrist. C. \\5\\ The third rider rides the black horse, has a pair of balances in his hand, and deals with food and money. Rev 6:6 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. 1. A penny in Bible days was a day’s wage. 2. A measure of wheat would be like a cup of flour. 3. Once the third horse comes out, you might work all day for a cup of flour or three cups of meal. 4. Remember Jesus’ end-time outline? Another of the beginning of sorrows is famine. No food. 5. I will promise you nothing will take peace from the earth any quicker than people having no food to eat. D. \\8\\ The fourth rider is Death and Hell rides with him. Rev 6:8 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. 1. Is there any wonder that death comes in with these last riders? 2. With war, killings among neighbors, and famines many (1/4) of the world’s population are going to die in the first days of the tribulation. 3. But why is Hell following behind him? Because everyone on the earth at this time is lost. The church is gone and that means all the believers were taken. Summary: In the first few weeks after the rapture of the church, the antichrist will be asked to take control of the world because the world will be in tatters. III. The AntiChrist’s Agenda A. The antichrist will promise peace and safety, but his goal will be to kill, to steal, and to destroy. 1. The Apostle Paul described it this way: 1Thess 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 2. Destruction cometh and no one alive in that day will escape it. No one. 3. The remainder of the book of Revelation will describe the antichrist’s agenda and God’s destruction of his kingdom. B. Paul goes on to in the next verse to encourage us not to be overtaken as by a thief. 1Thess 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 1. The rapture (the removal) of the church off this planet by God could happen at any moment. 2. When it does, the tribulation and its four horsemen will soon after be released. 3. Your only hope is to be saved—and let me add—be living the life of a Christian. a. Too many are claiming a faith that does not possess them. b. I do not know if you are saved or not, but if you are, it should be obvious to others.
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