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Back To The Future – Sermon #17


Revelation 6:1-8


Intro:  Revelation chapter six is a shock to the senses.  In the past two chapters, we have been allowed to witness scenes of heavenly worship.  In this passage, we are going to see images of divine wrath.  We have been a place where there is praise and shouting.  We are about to examine a scene filled with pain and suffering.   In chapters four and five, we have been seated in “heavenly places” observing “scenes of joy”.  In chapter six, we are brought down to “earthly places” to observe “scenes of judgment.”

      Beginning in chapter six all the way through chapter nineteen, we are placed in the middle of “Tribulation Period”, or the time known as the “Great Tribulation”.  This period of seven years is broken down into two parts, with each portion lasting 3 ½ years.

      This period of time is clearly described in the Word of God.

·        Jeremiah 30:7, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”

·        Daniel 12:1, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: 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, every one that shall be found written in the book.”

·        Matthew 24:3-24

·        Matthew 24:21-22, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.”

      In this passage, the seven seals on the book in the hand of the Lord Jesus begin to be broken, one by one.  As the seals are opened, a series of divine judgment is poured out upon the earth and those who dwell on the earth.  The four seals that we will consider in this message describe events that will take place during the first 3 ½ year portion of the Tribulation.

      We are about to witness a time of destruction, devastation and death that can hardly be comprehended by our mortal minds.  These verses describe events that will take place on the earth after the church has been removed in the Rapture.  The world we are about to see is a world that has no Gospel witness.  There are no Christians, no Gospel singing or preaching, and no peace.  This is a world that is in rebellion against its Maker; and it is a world that stands on the brink of terrifying judgments.

      We are told in verse one that when the Lamb opens the first seal, there was “the noise of thunder” in Heaven.  Just as thunder signals the approach of a storm, this heavenly thunder indicates that a storm is about to be unleashed upon this world that is almost beyond description.

      Let’s examine these verses together as I try to preach about “Horsemen On The Horizon”.  Let’s study some of what a lost world will world will face when Tribulation begins.



(Ill. There are some who read this and say that this rider is Jesus Himself.  They cite the similarities between these verses and those in Rev. 19:11-16.  While there are some similarities, there are many more differences.  The man on this horse is not the Christ, he is the Antichrist! There are several reasons why this man cannot be Jesus.

·        It is Jesus Who is breaking the seals, Rev. 6:1.  How can Jesus be in Heaven opening the seals and riding this white horse at the same time?

·        This rider wears a “crown”; Jesus wears “many crowns”. 

·        This rider wears a “stephanos”, a victor’s crown.  His crown is a prize.  Jesus wears many “diadems”, the many crowns of the King of Kings.

·        The rider in these verses has his crown “given unto him”.  This man was appointed a king be men.  This rider is given a crown that he has earned.  Jesus wears His crowns because of Who He is, not what He has done.  He is the King of Kings by birthright. Jesus is not given a crown, He “gives” crowns, Rev. 2:10.

·        This rider carries a “bow”.  Jesus carries a “sword”, Rev. 19:15.

·        The similarities between this rider and the Lord Jesus indicate that this man is the Antichrist.  We will learn more about him as our study progresses.  For now, it is important to note that he is not Jesus Christ.

      Now, we know who this man is not; now let’s see what we can find about who he is.

A.  He Is A Man Of Peace – You will notice that this rider has a “bow” in his hand, but he has no arrows.  This implies that he will conquer the world without bloodshed.  He will accomplish this by providing the answer to the problems faced by the world today.

            He comes on a white horse, bringing a promise of peace to this world.  When the Antichrist comes, he will come with the solutions for the world’s problems.  He will come with an explanation concerning the disappearance of all the Christians.  He will come with a plan to bring peace to this world.  When he comes, the world will fall at his feet and honor him as their ruler.

            He comes as a Savior to a world desperate to be saved.  Our world is in a state of turmoil, and things are only going to get worse.  Historian Arnold Toynbee said, “We are ripe for someone who can promise to give peace and to give tranquility to the earth.  We will deify that individual if he comes.”  Well, he is coming and the world will love him.


      (Ill. The problems that face our world today.  Most of the turmoil centers on the nation of Israel.  Iran, the Palestinians, and the rest of the Arab world, desires to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.  When the Antichrist comes, he will have the solution to the problem and he will establish a peace plan that will satisfy the world, Dan. 9:27.)


B.  He Is A Man Of Power – We are told that “he went forth conquering, and to conquer”.  We are also told that “a crown was given to him”.  By whatever means he uses, the Antichrist will be given the key to the world.  The leaders of the nations of earth will bow at this man’s feet and grant him the right to rule over the entire world.  They have denied this right to the King of Kings.  They have denied it to the Savior of men.  They have denied it to the Son of God.  But, they will grant that privilege to this child of Hell.

C.  He Is A Man Of Pretense – The problem with the Antichrist is that he is not the man he appears to be. He portrays himself to be one person when he is in fact another person altogether.  He comes riding a white horse.  Ill. The world is programmed to trust the man of the white horse!  He is the good guy.  He comes portraying himself as a man of peace.  He will appear on the world stage promising peace, safety and prosperity; but he will be the most evil, dictatorial ruler the world has ever seen.  Everything he is and everything he says will be a study in lies and falsehoods.


      (Note: Some would argue that the leaders of this world are too smart to fall for a deception like this.  If you watch the news, you will soon figure out that it is not always the best and brightest who rule our nation!  Add to that the lessons from history and you will see that this world is ripe for a satanic deception.

            Just look at what Hitler did prior to WWII.  Hitler had outlined in detail his plans for conquest in his book Mein Kampf, which was 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 Neville 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 had 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.[1])


  I.  The White Horse Of Deception



(Ill. The second horse and rider appears.  This horse is red.  Red is the color of fire and of blood.  Fire has the power to devour and to destroy. And when the fires of this war are unleashed upon this earth, there will be bloodshed on an unprecedented level.  This seal unleashes a time of war such as the world has never known.)

A.  The Peace Is Broken – The peace instituted by the Antichrist seems to be short lived.  War breaks out all over the world.  Of course, this is what Jesus said would happen during the Tribulation, Matt. 24:6-7.  He also warns men about putting too much stock in the cries of peace that are bantered about by the politicians and rulers of this world, 1 Thes. 5:3.

      Can you imagine a world that knows no peace at all? In every corner of the globe, violence and war will rage.  That is the world that every lost sinner will face during the Tribulation.

B.  The Planet Is Brutalized – This rider is given a “great sword”.  The word “great” refers to the extent of the warfare.  It will be worldwide in its scope.  The word “sword” refers to the short swords carried by Roman soldiers.  These swords were used in hand to hand combat and were quite effective in putting the enemy to death.

            When Antichrist first steps onto the world stage, he will be hailed as a man of peace.  But, after he is given the reigns of power, he displays his true colors.  After men allow him a place of prominence and power, he will demand absolute power.  When this happens, many of the powerful countries of this world will rebel and the world will experience war on a scale that it has never before witnessed.

      Ill. During WWII some 50 million people died world wide.  That number will fall far short of the millions who will die during the wars that will rage during this period of time.

      It is during this period that Russia and her allies will invade Israel in fulfillment of Eze. 38-39.  Their army will be defeated by divine intervention, and Israel will burn the weapons of warfare for seven years, Eze. 39:9-10.  The conflicts will not end here, however, the wars spawned by Antichrist will rage, one after the other, until Jesus, the Prince of Peace returns in power and glory!


(Ill. Imagine a world consumed by war.  Nations will fight against nation.  Race wars, class wars and religious wars will abound.  Peace will be elusive for everyone everywhere!  The world is ripe for war today!

      Add to that the fact that there will be no mothers, no fathers, and no churches praying for the soldiers in the wars.  There will be no preachers taking the Gospel to men dying in fox holes.  This will be a time of war fought without God, without Jesus and without hope.  Every soldier killed in every conflict in that shattered world will leave a world in tribulation to spend eternity in Hell.)


  I.  The White Horse Of Deception

 II.  The Red Horse Of Destruction 



(Ill. The third seal is broken and another rider makes his appearance.  This horse is black.  Black is a color associated with famine.  Famine always follows in the aftermath of war.  Thus, worldwide wars will spawn worldwide famines.  Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 24:7.)

A.  A Time Marked By Shortages – The rider on this horse has in his hands a set of scales.  This indicates that the Tribulation Period will be marked by severe shortages in the necessities of life.  Apparently, the famines will be so severe that food and other basic necessities will have to be rationed.

      We know nothing about that in our day!  We can go to a grocery store or to a restaurant and buy all the food we can eat.  Our cabinets, our refrigerators and our freezers are filled to capacity.  We know nothing about having to do with out or about having to make do with just a little.  But, that day is coming!


(Ill.  Some of you remember rationing here in America during Word War II.  When the war began, the military’s demand for certain goods increased dramatically and there were shortages.  Ration books were handed out and people used the coupons in those books to obtain the things they needed.  Things that we take for granted like sugar, coffee, butter, meat, cheese, canned good, shoes and gasoline were all carefully rationed.  During the height of the war, sugar was limited to 12 ounces per week.  Gas was limited to 3 gallons per ration period.  Coffee was rationed at 1 pound for a five-week period.

      Those must have been difficult times to live through, but the shortages of Word War II will pale in comparison to the deprivations suffered by those left to endure the Tribulation.)


B.  A Time Marked By Starvation – Verse 6 tells us something of the problems that will exist during that time.  A biblical “measure” would be enough food to feed a grown, working man for one day.  A “penny” refers to the “denarius”, which was a day’s wages.  Wheat is the food from which bread is made.  Barley was used primarily to feed livestock, and at times, it was consumed by the very poor.

      Here’s the image: a man will work all day just to be able to buy enough good food to feed him.  Or, he can work all day just to buy enough food fit for an animal to feed three people.

      Think about what this means!  People will have to make some hard choices!  People who cannot get out and work for themselves will be left to starve to death so that the workers can eat.  It will be a terrible time, marked by terrible starvation.


(Ill. None of us has ever experienced conditions such as these.  But, many in our world know the horror of starvation all too well.  Consider the following statistics:

·        Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of starvation.

·        Every year 15 million children die of starvation and of hunger related illness.

·        4 million people starve to death every year.

·        1.3 billion people live on less than $1.00 of income per day.  Another 3 billion have to try and survive on less than $3.00 per day.[2]

·        As horrible as those figures are, they will be dwarfed by the starvation problem this world will face in the Tribulation.

C.  A Time Marked By Separation – The phrase “and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” may indicate that luxury items will not be affected by the famines.  Oil and wine have always been the items of the wealthy set.  Oil is used in the manufacture of cosmetics, and alcohol has always been associated with the high life.  In other words, while most of the world is plunged into poverty and starvation, the rich will continue to get richer and enjoy the extravagant lifestyles they enjoy now.


(Ill. This great divide already exists!  In fact, those of us in this room life in the lap of luxury compared to most people around our world.  Consider the following facts:

·        The average American puts enough food in the trash can each day to feet a family of six in India.

·        For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years.

·        Throughout the 1990's more than 100 million children died from illness and starvation. Those 100 million deaths could have been prevented for the price of ten Stealth bombers, or what the world spends on its military in two days!

·        To satisfy the world's sanitation and food requirements would cost only $13 billion US dollars.  This is what the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume each year.

·        The assets of the world's three richest men are more than the combined GNP of all the least developed countries on the planet.[3]

·        The division between the “haves” and the “have nots” is vast today, but it is only going to grow wider during the Tribulation.)


  I.  The White Horse Of Deception

 II.  The Red Horse Of Destruction 

III.  The Black Horse Of Destitution





(Ill. The fourth horse is said to be “pale” in color.  The word pale comes from the same Greek word that gives us the English words “chlorophyll” and “chlorine”.  The word means, “Green”.  It refers to the “sickly, yellow-green pallor of a corpse”. 

      The events that take place in the wake of this horse and rider are also the things that inevitably follow a time of war.  However, these events seem to take place independently from those which come before.

      We are told that the rider of this pale horse is “death”.  We are also told that “hell” follows behind him.  The word “death” speaks of the death of the body.  The word “hell” reminds us that there is a horrible place waiting to receive the souls of lost men when they are taken by death.)

A.  The Breadth Of This Devastation – We are told that death will claim one-quarter of the world’s population.  That is one out of every four people living during those days.  If you take today’s population of six billion people, you are talking about the death of 1.25 billion people in a short period of time!

B.  The Brutality Of This Devastation – The methods death will use to claim this great number of people are listed in this verse.  The four methods mentioned are:

·        Sword – This refers to warfare.  During this period of time, it is almost certain that wars will be both convention as well as nuclear in nature.  Some one will use a nuclear weapon in warfare some day.  There can be little doubt that some countries will use biological and chemical weapons as well.  The numbers that will die in these wars will be astronomical!

·        Famine – We have already talked about the problem of starvation that will become worldwide in its scope during the Tribulation.  Many millions will meet their deaths in that fashion.

·        Death – This refers to deaths apart from warfare and famine.  In Matthew 24:7, Jesus said this, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”

            The word “pestilences” is what I think this word “death” is referring to.  Pestilence brings to mind diseases that will run rampant through the human race during this time period.  Diseases like the “bird flu” will leave millions dead in their wake.


      (Ill. We may think something like that cannot happen.  But, think back to the Spanish Influenza outbreak during World War I.  25 million people died with the flu in a world without overnight, intercontinental air travel.  Three times more people did of the flu during Word War I than actually died in battle!

            An outbreak of that sort in our world has the potential to kill hundreds of millions of people in a just a few short weeks.  An outbreak like that would shut down society as we know it and would bring many more to the place of starvation.)


·        Beasts – Animal attacks will account for many deaths.  The word “beasts” can refer to “small animals” or to “rodents”. 

      The Bible does not say this specifically, but it could be referring to rats with this phrase.  Consider this information concerning rats.

Ψ      With all the warfare, the death and the carnage, the rat population of this world will explode exponentially.

Ψ      One breeding pair can produce five litters of between 8 and 9 offspring per year.

Ψ      If 95% of the rat population in a given area is destroyed, they can replenish their numbers within one year. 

Ψ      Rats are nasty animals.  They carry some 35 known diseases. 

Ψ      They were responsible for killing 1/3 of the population of Europe during the Middle Ages as the bubonic plague raged. 

Ψ      Rats carry typhus, which has killed nearly 200 million people during one 400 year period.

Ψ      Rats destroy some $1 billion in food in the United States every year.

Conc:  When I read these things, I am struck by two thoughts.  First, I praise the Lord that I am saved by His grace!  I do not have to worry about these things.  Now, none of us knows how band things will get before the Lord Jesus will come again.  We are already seeing the beginnings of some of these things in our world.  I praise the Lord that I am leaving here before the bottom falls out!

      Second, I grieve for those who do not know the Lord.  My family, friends and acquaintances; the people who come in and out of these buildings that are lost; lost neighbors and people we meet everyday who do not know Jesus; all of these will be left behind to face these things.  All they have to look forward too is a life of pain and misery here and an eternity in Hell.  That breaks my heart!

      Here is the invitation.  If you are not saved, please come to Jesus and look to Him for your salvation.  If you are out of His will, please come back to Him so that He can use your life as a light for His glory.  If you have people on your heart that need to be saved, bring them to Jesus and pray for their souls.

      If you listen very carefully you can hear the sound of approaching hoof beats.  The time I have tried to describe is coming!  Are you ready?

[1] http://www.thelivingwordtbc.com/rev16.htm

[2] http://library.thinkquest.org/C002291/high/present/stats.htm

[3] IBID.

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