“’Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!'”Matthew 24:32-33 NKJV
What exactly will happen during the Tribulation? A comprehensive study includes passages from several books in both the Old and New Testaments. Our survey will concentrate mainly in Revelation with occasional biblical references to deepen our understanding of future events. We may not understand everything we are about to read, but it is enough to prepare us for what is coming. As Jesus said in Matthew 24:25, ‘See, I have told you beforehand‘ (NKJV).
Before we begin, let’s remember some comforting words: DO NOT FEAR. The Bible declares this 365 times–once for every day of the year. For those who already know Jesus as Lord and Savior, there is no reason to fear the coming Tribulation. The wrath of God will be poured out only on the wicked as a final call to salvation and punishment for evil.
Do we know when the Rapture will happen?
No, we don’t know exactly when the Rapture will happen, but even if the church is on earth for the beginning of the Tribulation, God will protect us. Remember how God protected the Israelites in Egypt when He poured out judgments on Pharaoh and the Egyptians? We can trust God to protect us in the same way. God is in complete control, no matter what may happen.
On the other hand, those who aren’t saved need to pay close attention to what they will have to face on the earth during those seven years. Salvation will still be available, but the price paid to gain heaven at the hands of the Anti-Christ will require facing a guillotine. However, the ultimate price for following the Anti-Christ and taking the mark of the beast will be far worse: eternity in the lake of fire. For all of us, the time to accept Christ as Savior is NOW, before the Tribulation begins.
Now let’s examine the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and begin with a definition.
What does Apocalypse mean?
In Greek, this word means a revelation of things not previously known, or an unveiling of future events. This last book of the New Testament is the unveiling of Jesus Christ, who is coming again to the earth.
In our last post of this survey, we left John in the throne room of God, rejoicing with all of heaven. Jesus, the Lamb who was slain, was found worthy to take the scroll from God’s hand and open its seven seals.
The First Seal
Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.Revelation 6:1-2 NKJV
Who is the rider on the white horse?
Although some claim it is Christ, there are several reasons why it couldn’t be Jesus. If we look at Revelation 19 when Christ returns at the Second Coming, He wears many crowns; He will rule with a rod of iron; and He comes to judge and wage war against His enemies (see Revelation 19:11-16). Most agree the rider on the white horse may be the Anti-Christ or an Anti-Christ spirit working through men that conquers by taking away political and personal freedoms.
The Second Seal
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come and see.’ Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.Revelation 6:3-4 NKJV
Jesus warned His disciples in Matthew 24:6-7 about wars and killing in the last days. He said: ‘And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (NKJV).
But one interesting detail about the rider on the red horse is that he holds a sword to take peace from the earth. Even in our present day, a certain Middle Eastern religion still kills by the sword as its people wage vicious, interminable wars. Could that coincidence point to the rider on the red horse? Or could people killing each other be the logical result of losing political and personal freedoms?
The Third Seal
When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come and see.’ So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard 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 the wine.‘Revelation 6:5-6 NKJV
What follows political oppression and violence? Economic depression and famine. The black horse represents death caused by starvation, and its rider measures out just enough food for one person per day. Will farms be obsolete? Will people be hoarded into crowded cities and their daily ration of food be controlled by the government?
Wheat and barley will cost an entire day’s wage, but barley will be a cheaper bargain at three times the amount. Consequently, runaway inflation will result in a huge amount of money necessary to purchase one loaf of bread. Although olives for oil and grapes for wine will still be plentiful, they will be luxury items only affordable to the very rich. Such will be the results of a worldwide economic depression and food shortage.
The Fourth Seal
When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come and see.’ So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.Revelation 6:7-8 NKJV
After war and famine, riots and lawlessness result, creating barbaric people. They will take the law into their own hands and kill each other for food. Pandemics and plagues will also wipe out vast populations on earth. As protective infrastructures dissolve, wild beasts will be able to attack the population.
A pale horse refers to the color pale green (coloris), the color of rotting flesh. The rider, Death, takes the body, and Hades takes the soul of one-fourth of the world’s population. As of 2023, the number of dead would be one-fourth of eight billion, equaling two billion people.
The effects of the four horsemen described in Revelation 6 are evident today. However, what is described here will be far worse than what the world is experiencing in 2023. As God releases these horses to gallop across the earth in the future, He is doing so to call all unbelievers to repentance. Some will wake up and heed the call to salvation, while others will not.
Have you heeded the call? If not, come to Jesus today. If you are a believer, witness to the lost. Let’s pack the ark of salvation so that when the clouds part and the trumpet sounds, we will all be with Jesus.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV
Dear Father, thank you for revealing what is to come in the future. Draw those who want to know You to the cross of Christ. May they repent of their sins, receive Your forgiveness, and ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Karen Jurgens copyright ©2023 All Rights Reserved