[Darris] The four horsemen of Revelation.
What are they? What do they mean? Jesus Christ revealed them more than 2,000 years ago, yet these icons of Bible prophecy continue to fascinate us even today.
When will they ride? And what will happen when they do?
Whether you're a Christian or not, you need to understand this prophecy of the horsemen. Join us on Beyond Today as we look at Christ's warning about "The Four Horsemen of Revelation."
[Announcer] Join our host, Darris McNeely and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !
[Darris] Few biblical images have so captivated people down through time as the "four horsemen of the apocalypse." Christ told John to write it in a book. Jesus Christ intended for people living in John's time to read this book. But not just them - He meant it for us as well.
>…And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow…Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the Earth… I saw a black horse… and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand…I saw a horse and his color was pale green. It's rider was named Death…and his companion was the grave (Revelation 6:2-8).
[Darris] This week on Beyond Today , you will discover exactly what the four horsemen of Revelation symbolize. We want to see you go further with this subject, so I'd like to also send you a free copy of a study aid that we've prepared, which I will tell you more about later in the program.
The four horsemen don't just appear until chapter 6 of the book of Revelation. What triggers their ride? Well let's take a look at how Christ sets the stage in the book of Revelation.
Revelation starts with John recording a vision that he had while exiled on the prison island of Patmos. John was given a vision from the Son of Man - Jesus Christ, and that he was told to record.
John points out that we are blessed if we read and obey what the book of Revelation says (Revelation 1:3 NLT).
John starts telling of a vision of a scene in heaven.
> "After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this'" (Revelation 4:1, NIV).
[Darris] Christ revealed to John what would happen during the end times, a time when you will need God's protection and care as much as anybody else has ever needed it in all of history.
John goes on in the book to describe a scroll that was given to the Lamb who is Jesus Christ.
> "Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: 'Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?' But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it.
"Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, 'Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David's throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals'" (Revelation 5:1-5, NLT).
[Darris] The scroll is given to Christ, and has seven seals that must be broken to open the scroll - seven events by these seven seals that will take place as it is opened.
The first four seals are symbolized as four terrifying horsemen. At the time that the Bible was written, warriors on horseback were one of the most effective forms of fighting. A full grown horse weighs up to about 1,000 pounds, so the image of a horseman was one of the most frightening things that could be shown to John and that he could write down.
The horsemen will ride at a time when humanity is on the verge of unraveling.
Just in our recent history we've been close to a global collapse - in 2008 a global financial crash brought us within hours of chaos.
Now let's imagine, for just a moment, if the crash had been only a bit worse. After all the banks crashed, our debit cards stopped working at the gas pump or the grocery store. Without fuel, our supply lines are cut. Local stores have only a few days of inventory in stock and not enough to go around for everyone. The future at that time looks pretty bleak. It is onto a scene like this that these horsemen begin to ride.
First Horse – White
> "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."
[Darris] The first horseman rides on a white horse , appearing on the world scene in a valiant display. He is determined to gain a victory and to dominate mankind, with a bow in his hand and a crown on his head.
But this is not the only rider on a white horse in this book of Revelation. As many of you know, there is another rider on a white horse described later on in the book. That rider is Jesus Christ when He is returning as King of kings, in chapter 19.
This first horseman, in chapter 6, is masquerading as Christ. He wants you to believe that he is Christ. Most people who see him will even think that it is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself warned us of such a horseman to ride.
Back in Jerusalem when the disciples asked Christ for a sign of His coming, He told them to beware of people that will come in His name.
The prophecy is told in Matthew 24 - one of the most famous that Christ gives - He says, "…many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:5).
Christ goes on to warn us further in verse 24. "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand" (Matthew 24:24-25).
Christ said that He would build His church with one faith. In the past 2,000 years since He lived, since He established His body of believers, there has arisen nearly 10,000 distinctive types of religions. Ten thousand - think about that. No wonder we have so much religious strife during that 2,000-year period and strife that continues even to our time.
The Bible shows that before Christ returns there is going to be another period of religious-driven conflict. This period of religious strife we begin to see today, but it is only a forerunner of a greater period of deception and difficulty to come.
As we read through the book of Revelation, we see that this first horseman leads into the next.
Second Horse - Red
> "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."
[Darris] The second horseman described in this prophecy rides on a red horse . This horseman has a great sword in his hand, and he sets out to incite war throughout the Earth. This horseman on this red horse is ready to take the nations of the world to war with each other. We see this happening more and more in our world today with the strife and conflict that erupts all over the world. The horseman on the red horse is certainly riding right now.
Christ warned us directly of this second horse's coming - again, back in Matthew 24 - right after He warned us of false preachers and the white horseman. In Matthew 24:6 we read:
"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" (Matthew 24:6-7).
The red horse brings war to this Earth and fulfills the prophecy that Christ Himself foretold when He walked the Earth.
War technology has been advancing faster and faster. The human race constantly finds new ways to destroy itself. We can push a button in one country and wipe out an entire other country on the other side of the world. A full fledged nuclear war could end human life on this planet.
Fortunately, we know this will not be the case. When we look ahead, again, back in Matthew's prophecy in chapter 24, it says:
"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened" (Matthew 24:21-22).
The war brought on by the red horse will not end all life, but it will certainly lead to more human suffering, as we see with the third horseman.
False religion, global war. These are some pretty scary concepts. You will need God's protection and you will need His mercy more than ever in the not-too-distant future.
Every week on this program, on Beyond Today we offer a free Bible study aid to help you read your Bible with new understanding. I'd like for you to get a pen and a paper, because I'm going to ask you to jot down our toll-free number. This week I'm going to be asking you to request, and we're going to send you something that's totally new - first time offered on Beyond Today . We're going to be sending you a copy - if you request it, of this special edition called, The Horsemen of Revelation .
We have never offered this study aid before, and we only have a limited number of copies available in print. Once we run out, The Horsemen of Revelation , this booklet, will only be available as an electronic download. But you can have this limited edition, full color booklet, in print, for no cost at all! You need to have this study guide because it's going to help you with a deeper study and better understanding of Revelation's four horsemen.
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Third Horse – Black
> "When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, 'Come!' I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, 'A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day's pay. And don't waste the olive oil and wine'" (Revelation 6:5-6 NLT).
[Darris] The rider on the black horse has scales in his hand, and brings even more bad news for mankind. The voice heard by John tells us that scarcity and famine will follow the war brought by the red horse.
After the world is ravaged by wars, the Earth will be barren and fruitless. Food will be so scarce that people will be willing to give an entire day's wages to purchase a small loaf of bread to feed their hungry family.
Billions will go hungry. When we think of hunger in our recent history, we might think of hungry people standing in breadlines in depression-era America, or in Soviet Russia, waiting to get food for the day. Unfortunately, the hunger that will grip the world as the black horse rides will be much more widespread. Government breadlines will not be the answer. There simply will not be enough food to go around. Society will continue to break down into chaos. And people will turn on each other for a few bites of food.
How can this happen?
Hunger is a very powerful urge. It can lead people to do unthinkable, barbaric things.
In January 2013, the Daily Mail reported that after a famine in North Korea, a man reverted to basic, disgusting animal instincts and ate his own children to survive. This is the kind of hunger that we will see all around the Earth - one capable of turning men into animals (Lamentations 4:10)
The threat of worldwide hunger will drive society to its breaking point. Humanity is now starving, weak, and broken. And this brings on the fourth horseman.
Fourth Horse - Pale
> "When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, 'Come!' I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals" (Revelation 6:7-8).
[Darris] The fourth horseman brings the death of billions to a world that has been already ravaged by false religion, war, and famine. No place is safe. If you had the means to go anywhere in the world, you could not avoid the pale horse. Societies have broken down, with our world torn by large-scale warfare and worldwide hunger. Governments won't be able to step in and they'll not be able to provide aid.
Disease pandemics can spread globally within hours. With international air travel, what begins in China or the Middle East can spread before we even detect that something has happened.
What's described here is an event so big that life cannot be sustained on this Earth for long. A disease that kills quickly, efficiently, and mercilessly.
We read that nature itself turns back against man. Wild animals start to hunt in our cities and towns. With civilization all but gone, they pick off the weak.
The casualties of famine, war, and disease are massive. Billions die, and even more will be suffering. These first four seals show us just how bad things will be at the time of the end. Revelation is a book of warnings that both fascinates and confuses readers. Christ, the Lamb, orchestrates and controls an unfolding period of judgment upon the world.
The four horsemen picture four great eruptions of trial and turmoil. Some who study this part of Revelation will say there has always been religious strife, war, famine and disease. And they would be true. What we should learn is that they are all problems that come by the choices people make. God uses our own twisted human nature to be our undoing. Greed, treachery, violence... they are not curses that God creates. They're curses caused by sin, and the rejection of God and His sovereign Kingdom. God simply steps out of the way and lets humanity tear itself apart. It's a period of trial that is coming upon the world rapidly.
But fortunately, it doesn't end this way.
The takeaway from Revelation is a wonderful time of peace under the rule of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Those who dismiss Revelation as an apocalyptic horror, they fail to understand the ultimate message of hope contained in this last book of the Bible.
The hope lies in Jesus Christ - who appears near the end of the account as a fifth horseman riding a white horse and intervening to end the horrible period of war and suffering.
You may not have considered that there is a fifth horse in Revelation. But before we get to a description of what this fifth horseman is, let me explain two offers that will help you understand today's subject.
The first is our free study aid, The Horsemen of Revelation . This is our most thorough explanation of this subject.
You can begin reading it online now at BeyondToday.tv . If you would like your own hard copy, you can also request it free right now by calling: 1-888-886-8632. 1-888-886-8632 is the number. If you live outside of North America, you can also write a letter at the address that is on your screen and we'll be glad to send you a copy.
But please note this, that we're only offering this special Bible study aid in print for a limited time only. After that, it will only be available electronically, online. So, if you would like a copy sent to your mailbox, make sure you call today while printed copies are still in stock. It's absolutely free!
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Fifth Horse - White
As the horsemen ride, it is leading to a time when Jesus Christ will come back to this Earth and He will bring a swift sword of judgment. The judgment that mankind deserves is so rough when it is finally carried out that men will seek death and it won't be found. It will be like no other time of trouble in the past.
As the horsemen ride, you and I will need God's protection, His care, and His mercy.
Christ begins with the opening of seven seals, the first four set that the stage in an unforgettable manner, with these four horsemen riding.
Fortunately, Revelation leaves us with hope. Christ gave John the vision of one more horseman that we mentioned earlier in the program.
Let's go back to that horseman. That horseman is Jesus Christ. When He returns riding on the true white horse. He rides as the King of kings, and He rides as our Savior.
> "Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns... He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords" (Revelation 19:11-16, NLT).
[Darris] Read in your own Bible the words describing this dramatic scene at the end of this present age of human misrule. While not pretty, it is the only solution to the continual wars that plague mankind.
It fulfills what Christ promised when He spoke of the time before His coming as one of war and turmoil that could bring humanity to the brink of extinction. And he said, "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved: but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened" (Matthew 24:22).
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I'm joined now by fellow Beyond Today hosts, Steve Myers and Gary Petty.
Well the four horsemen of Revelation - it's pretty bad news. Doing a program like this is pretty sobering, gentlemen. It's like watching the news headlines everyday on television, isn't it?
[Steve] It's a lot of doom and gloom. It seems, I think, often times overwhelming when you envision these four horsemen riding and you begin to think that, boy it's happening in our world already. But I don't think Revelation wants to leave us there. God certainly doesn't want us to have that type of perspective in our lives - that it's all washed up, nothing is, there is no hope. Because of that fifth horseman, there is hope. And I think that is where Revelation guides us to the ultimate solution to the problems that we are facing today.
[Gary] You know I thought it was interesting, you brought out five horsemen. Some biblical commentaries try to make that first white horse Christ.
[Gary] But it's not. It's a false religion.
[Darris] There is a difference.
[Gary] That's right.
[Darris] Christ has a sword in His hand. The first horseman has a bow - different purposes.
[Gary] Right. And when Christ comes, unfortunately it is to fight war because humanity will resist Him. But He comes as the King of Peace. And He comes to bring peace, and He comes to bring prosperity. And He comes to bring God's purpose for all humanity, and that's the great hope of the book of Revelation.
[Darris] That's how it ends. And that's what you have to incorporate into the whole picture - yes. Four horsemen like this are pretty grim, and yet this is everyday life for a lot of people. This is history. This is the story of history and yes, the book of Revelation covers it in a graphic detail, but this is what I like doing a program like this about - why I like doing it, the one on Revelation, because we get an opportunity to bring out the fact of hope.
You know you watch so much in popular culture and media today. They do a movie about the end of the world, or a nuclear bomb, and the post-apocalyptic society, and there is nothing good that comes out of that. It's pretty grim, and there is no hope. But, you read Revelation, and you read it as it says what it does, yes there is a time of judgment, but there is also a time of great hope beyond that. And you've got to have the entire message, and only God provides it in a book like this.
[Steve] And that's the exciting part about it. Just think of the title of the book, the revelation of Jesus Christ.
[Darris] Jesus Christ!
[Steve] And so, Jesus Christ is going to return. He is going to be revealed. And He is going to change the world! So the pain and the suffering - in fact that's what the end of the book of Revelation says - there is going to be no more tears, no more crying, no more death. And so we look forward to that fifth horseman that is going to ride and bring that to this world.
[Gary] A lot of people look at Revelation and they see fear. They feel trepidation. They worry, what is going to happen to me, at this time period. And, I know I have a neighbor that's always worried about the end times and what is going to happen, and it's just the beginning of these times, when we need to look ahead! If we trust in God now, if we have a relationship with God now, He is preparing us not just for that time, but for beyond! He is preparing His people for the return of Jesus Christ because He talks about it at the end of the book there, Revelation 20, the resurrection of the saints!
[Gary] To be with Christ and to reign with Him for a thousand years!
[Darris] You used the word preparation, or to prepare for this. And you know, people today when they hear about bad times and they study Bible prophecy and just focus on the bad, they try to prepare by hoarding food. They try to prepare by buying up gold or by building a shelter that is going to protect them. And when you look at what these prophecies foretell, nothing like that is going to protect anyone. There is only one source of protection to get through and that is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
[Steve] Yes, we've got to have that relationship with God the Father and have Jesus Christ as our Savior. We've got to be living by His standards, today! And so that we have to come out from the ways of this world and begin to live by those standards that Christ is going to bring with Him when He returns. And I think that's a vital part that we can live that way and begin to experience some of that hope in our life right now.
[Darris] That's the understanding that comes by watching and understanding, not only where the world is going, but how to be prepared for times like this.
[Gary] It has a profound effect on how you live life right now, as you just said. It really does. If you see yourself as a disciple of Jesus Christ, as a son or daughter of the Almighty God and you are being prepared to help Jesus Christ change the world! And you're being prepared by learning His way right now - boy, what purpose! What purpose!
[Darris] And that's the reason to study Bible prophecy from the point of view of being prepared through a process of salvation, to be with Jesus Christ and to reign and rule with Him on this Earth and to help straighten out the problems that are created during this time of judgment.
The four horsemen of Revelation represent Christ's judgment on mankind prior to His coming. Are they a harbinger of end times? Yes, they are. And they are riding today, right now. But as their ride continues to intensify, you will need God's mercy and compassion more than ever.
You need to be prepared. Will you recognize the signs that the entire world is about to change? Will you see them riding toward you? Study your Bible and get close to God. And pray every day for His guidance. And watch and understand today's world.
You can survive the end times, but you can't do it alone. God will help you through all of this. May His Kingdom come. For Beyond Today , I'm Darris McNeely. Thanks for watching.
[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today's program, go online to BeyondToday.tv . Please join us again next week on Beyond Today !