Controversial subjects are the staple of lots of today's television programming. From crop circles, to Bigfoot, to the book of Revelation and the end times, many suchlike things are presented and speculated upo.
And the Four Horsement of the apocalypse come in for their share of that speculation.
Here's the thing though. Much of Revelation is symbolic (there is much that isn't though as well), and do we really expect to see a great white horse, upon which a crown wearing, sword bearing man? Who will effect, in a large way, the whole of the earth?
Here are some thoughts about the matter. And I'd love to hear your thoughts upon it as well.
By way of introduction though, I want to point out that Revelation chapter six deals with the opening of six (the seventh comes later) seals, of which four of them concern the four horsemen. The fifth seal deals with the souls of those who've been killed for their testimony and the Word of God.
The opening of the sixth seal turns the page and ushers in a totally new direction. For while the first five seals deal with things that are generated by man, and which are then visited upon man (conquering, war, lack of peace, death, famine, commerce and so forth) sixth seal describes the very beginnings of God's judgments on mankind. It's as if God's judgments are His answer to those souls under the altar, who are crying out, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" Rev 6:10.
While we're looking at what man does to man in the first five seals, from the sixth seal onward, those things coming upon the earth would be characterized, by your insurance company (in order to keep from having to pay you for them) as "Acts of God".
Looking at the first four seals, that is the four horsemen, and world history, what characteristics have defined man since the day Cain slew his brother?
Considering the first horseman, the white horse, haven't chief among the outstanding characteristics of man been 'going forth conquering, and to conquer'? Has there ever been a time in history when man hasn't been imperialistic, greedy, eager to take that which is another's, even if only to exercise and exult in the power to do so? Even the story of Cain and Abel is a recounting of a conquering. And not only so, but note that there was a way out for Cain. For if, after having been rejected in his sacrifice to God, Cain had repented, and sold or bartered with Abel in order to obtain a lamb for the proper sacrifice, all would have been fine. But in Cain, a drive to conquer, to kill, was greater than a drive to please God.
And the second horseman, who takes peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another...Has there ever been a time in history, even one day, when all of the earth was in peace? Conversely, has there ever been a time in history when man, somewhere on the earth, wasn't at war with man? or isn't at war with man?
Horseman three. And what lies behind much, if not most, or even all (for the love of money is root of all evil) of the conquering, the war, and the lack of peace on this earth? Isn't it a fascination with possessions, with owning stuff, whether those possessions be money, lands, kingdoms, slaves, riches, or a good stock portfolio and an SUV? Isn't the economic system both a cursing and a blessing? For without trade, and markets, and produce, and industry and commerce, where would we be? On the other hand, did we not have these things, wouldn't peace be more readily achieved? If owning something meant nothing, why would we, why should we, kill to obtain it? (And oh yeah, note the "And hurt not the oil and the wine" in Horseman number three, the black horse...and while we know he's talking about olive oil there...what about today's fascination with and dependence upon, not olive oil, but OIL? I suspect we haven't heard the last of OIL).
And finally, with Horseman number four, what is it that history has taught us is the outstanding trait of mankind, none but those taken into the hand of God and having been reborn, being excepted? Isn't it the commerce of death? History is just one chapter after another of man dealing death to man, of man killing man. How can we forget the endless succession of wars, the holocausts, the inquisitions, the Hitlers and Stalins, and even more so, the deaths of millions of unborn children in just this nation alone?
We not only deal in death, we WHOLESALE death, we celebrate it, watch it on television, read about it in fact and fiction, fantasize about it (what gun owner hasn't fantasized about wiping out a nest of Nazis or Zombies?). We pay for it (through taxes and a myriad of other ways), we countenance it, we legitamize it, we go far afield in order to facilitate it.
Face it, we are a bloody, bloody species.
So much so, that the fifth seal talks about those who've been slain for the Word of God and the testimony which they held. And who cry out to God for redress. And why are they dead? Because of their testimony and the Word of God...and the rest of mankind being unable or unwilling to accept, or who are intolerant toward, those who aren't represented by the four horsemen noted above.
And I believe their cry for, well, let's just go ahead and say it, 'righteous revenge', is heard by God. And He begins to set in motion His answer...which includes the plagues, the tribulations, the deaths, the famines and all the other things that come upon mankind from that moment on, with the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon becoming red as blood, locusts from the bottomless pit, mountains of fire cast upon the seas, the fountains of water, and earth, and on and on.
These things, we cannot blame upon man, or his ungodly traits and characteristics. These are from God. But they are in answer to the dead saints crying out for release, for peace. And they cry out for what man has done to man, and to them personally.
And in that time, when God makes answer to those cries, may God help us...
Funny though, isn't it? As kids we know we'll grow into adulthood, and we plan for it, make preparations for it, get an education.
And as adults we know we'll be growing old. And we plan for it, make preparations for it, forget our educations...and, well, nothing.
Even though as older adults we know we'll die...we know no one can cheat death.
We don't make enquiries about what happens at death, we don't make preparations for it, we apparently manifest not one iota of interest it.
And even though the bible speaks much of it, we don't concern ourselves with the end of time, what happens, when will it be, how does it come about, can it be delayed? None of these things seem to interest us.
But you can bet your life, that you'll be there, in one state or another. I don't like to go somewhere and have no idea what it is I'm facing.
Most Christians are content to have their "fire insurance" paid up; You know, be a believer but not a follower. I think that much of the modern church has let people down with a watered down word and a don't worry be happy mentality.
The greatest problem with the modern church today is not sin, for that has been dealt with. It is a true belief in God's word that is lacking in the modern church.
"It is a true belief in God's word that is lacking in the modern church."
And more than that. It is overwhelming ignorance of God's Word that's killing us, halting our growth, creating untold divisions, preparing us for the Horsemen, not for Heaven.
Paul put it this way, "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:" Ephesians 4:18.
His prescription for this ignorance? "But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Eph 5:13-14.
We have been the most blessed of all generations since the death of Jesus Christ. In that we have Him available everywhere. He's in the Bible, He's in the church, He's in our hearts as the Holy Spirit, He's on our computers, our cell phones, our iPads, as the readily available digital Word of God. He's everywhere.
And we lie there asleep...striving mightily to be entertained every waking moment of the day.
Your digital devices can deliver you from boredom, productivity, enui, good health, brain cells...but when it all comes down, I'm afraid our digital devices will not serve to deliver us. For that, we'll need faith. And faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17).
I'm truly afraid that insofar as death, destruction, disease, famine, and horrors untold are concerned...we are well on the way down the pike.
I agree. Christ said that as he has suffered so too we would suffer, and moreso, yet we have this modern "rapture" doctrine that creates a real do't worry be happy attitude when it comes to the time of great tribulation. After all none of God's people are going to be here for that they teach. Nothing could be further from the truth!
There is another thread on this very subject, so I won't bemoan the point. Suffice it to say that I think this is a flase doctrine that sets people up for failure becuase they fail to prepare for tribulation. When the horsemen come riding by their house they will be crying why me? I am supposed to be immune from all of this! It will open the door of doubt for all of their teachings.
I agree that the availability of God's word is on an unprecidented scale, but how many are utilizing it? Of those utilizing it how many are getting the untarnished truth? Of those getting the truth how many truly believe? Most of our devices serve as more of a distraction than anything. I used to have PC Study Bible and I loved it. The tools for finding things were great, as well as so many different versions of the Bible at my fingertips. Now I just have a KJV Bible and Strong's Concordance, but I navigate them well.
I think that technology is a bane of sorts, and it seems to fail at the worst of times. Therefore I have been working at getting away from it. It is a time when you hear preachers crying for money all of the time and teaching things that lead their flock astray. It is a time when some preachers are living lifestyles of the rich and famous while preaching about the need for humility. It is a time when the church has bought into many things that it should not have such as not being involved in politics, becoming a 501c organization and giving up the right to preach political opinion from the pulpit for a few more dollars. In many cases much of the church has become no more than a support structure for a building.
No, we are ripe for the picking, and when the harvesters come there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus tells us that if we ask, we'll receive, if we seek, we'll find...and if we knock, it shall be opened unto us.
But we don't ask. We don't seek. And we don't knock, (unless we're knocking our neighbor's religion). So how can we expect to have that which we need, in times of distress?
Jesus knew this about us, about mankind, for we see it in this parable, and even moreso with His final question in the parable,
"Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:2-8.
That question, 'shall he find faith on the earth?' is a burning one.
But the opposite end of that equation is found in James, who says,
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:1-4.
Everyday, we make choices in our lives. To tell the truth? or to tell that lie. To be entertained? or to study the bible. To speak with profanity, vulgarity and cursing? or to speak with that which engenders to blessing to others.
The choices we make lead us. They lead us to God, or they lead us to material things, or physical things, or political things, or carnal things, or things of the intellect...all things, but nothing of the spirit, nothing of God.
I once believed that most would be saved, would inherit everlasting life. Now, I'm beginning to feel as if only a remnant will be saved...and would to God that weren't so.