The “Mystery” of the Four Horsemen March 2, 2010Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
Tags: apocalypse, elect, end times, eschatology, four seals, mid-tribulation, pre-tribulation, rapture, rapture ready, revelations, seven seals, the four horsemen, tribulation, wars and rumours of wars
In my previous post on “The Pre-tribulation Rapture Revisited: The Seven Seals” I deliberately neglected to address the four horsemen which begins from the opening of the first seal in Rev 6:1 so as not to overcomplicate the issue. In this rather brief outline therefore I will attempt to present the scriptures so that they speak for themselves in unraveling the mystery of these four horsemen which no doubt strikes many people with fear and dread. This is particularly so because these horsemen are not understood. I believe the key to unlocking the whole mystery however resides in Matthew 24 where Jesus outlined the signs which precedes His coming. I also believe that this discussion also lends itself to the pre-tribulation rapture debate as well and for all intents and purposes we are possibly already witnessing the rise of the four horsemen. But would this not mean that the pre-tribulation believers as well as the rest of “missed the boat” since they claim that the rapture had to occur before the opening of the first seal? Nevertheless these issues will be explored in the following outline.
Firstly, we should recall that the Disciples asked Jesus in Matt 24:3, “when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Jesus then began to outline the signs that preceded His coming in the verses following, which some refers to as the so-called Olivet Discourse. This should be borne in mind then as we examine the mystery of the four horsemen and note also that it is Jesus Himself who opens the seals.
To begin with we look at the characteristics of the four horsemen in turn which proceeded from the opening of the first four seals:
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.
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.
And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 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.
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.
I have highlighted the main characteristics of these horsemen but to summarize we see the first going out to conquering and to conquer; the second was given a sword and he takes peace from the earth, causing people to kill one another; the third had a pair of balances in his hand and this signifies judgment (not to be confused with the final judgement); and the last horseman was given power over the fourth part of the earth (the earth is described in scripture as having four corners), to kill with sword, hunger, death and with the beasts of the earth.
Thus these four horsemen precedes the return of Jesus Christ, which occurs at the opening of the 6th seal. So how does these four horsemen relate to the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24? We read from verse 6:
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars (horseman 1): 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 (horseman 1): and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places (horseman 4). 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake (relates to horseman 3 – judging the saints and horseman 4). 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another (horseman 2). 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Looking at the underlined portions here in Matt 24 and conflating them with the characteristics of the four horsemen of Rev 6, we can ascertain that these events are the same, which precedes Jesus’ coming. This is the mystery of the four horsemen. But aren’t some of these things already happening even in our day or perhaps we are not able to discern the signs of the times? What then, has the pre-tribulation rapture taken place already? Noting that the scripture left us in no doubt that these were the signs that the disciples and consequently the church should look for in order to know that Christ’s return was near.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”! Amen
The Pre-tribulation Rapture Revisited: The Seven Seals March 1, 2010Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
Tags: anti-christ, apocalypse, beast of revelations, end times, eschatology, mark of the beast, mystery babylon, pre-tribulation, rapture, rapture ready, seven seals, the false prophet, the four horsemen
I have decided to do a further, hopefully in-depth, study on the issue of the pre-tribulation rapture primarily because a number of posters have raised certain points which I did not touch on in my previous post here. In order to avoid confusion therefore I have decided to revisit this topic.
Firstly there seems to be some confusion amongst pre-tribulation believers that God’s wrath begins from about the opening of the first seal in Revelations 6. But this is not the case. The wrath of God is not poured out until the seventh seal is opened and we see this from Rev 8:1 onwards. The wrath of God is further elaborated on in Rev 15 and 16 and so on. It is clear from scripture that the church is not appointed unto wrath (1 Thess 5:9) and therefore will not incur the wrath of God which constitutes the outpouring of the seven vials (note difference with the seven seals) by the seven angels. However, we are appointed unto tribulation which is distinct from God’s wrath. But what is the timing of the tribulation and what do we glean from Rev 6 regarding the timing of God’s wrath? Note that Revelations chapter 6 and 7 both mirror and expand on the events that Jesus spoke of concerning His return in Matthew 24 (or Mark 13).
In Rev 6:9 therefore we see the opening of the 5th seal. Here John saw the souls of them that were killed for the word of God and the testimony they held, under the altar. These souls were asking God how long it would be before He avenged them. The reply we can see in verse 11:
“and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
These souls were to wait until their fellowservants and brethren be killed as they were before God avenged them (We will come back to this). This was the tribulation or at least part of it because we know that the tribulation precedes Christ’s return and God’s wrath does not come into play yet until after these things were fulfilled. The first 4 seals then cannot be considered God’s wrath. We also know that the two beasts of Rev 13, which is the anti-christ’s world government which made war with and overcame the saints is in establishment at the time of Christ’s return. Therefore the tribulation period is synonymous to the last world kingdom on earth leading up to Christ’s return.
Following in the timeline of the seals, in verse 12 of Rev 6 we see the opening of the 6th seal which sets off a great earthquake and the sun turned into darkness and the moon into blood, whilst the stars fell from heaven just as Jesus said in Matt 24:29-31. Note however that Jesus said in Matt 24:29 that these things occur immediately after the tribulation of those days. Continuing on from Rev 6 we read then that the heavens rolled away as a scroll and the people of the earth fled and tried to hide their faces from He that sat upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. Why? We see the reason in verse 17: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
When does the wrath of God occur then? After the sun was turned into darkness and the moon into blood etc! When did these events occur? They occurred after the tribulation of those days and not midway through or before. So then what can we conclude? The day of the wrath of God is NOT synonymous to the tribulation because the day of His wrath occurs after the tribulation. To say then that if the church were to be in the tribulation they would also be at the mercy of God’s wrath is completely wrong. God’s wrath begins with the opening of the 7th seal (See Rev 8:1 onwards) and therefore does not run concurrent with the tribulation which occurs at the 4th and 5th seals. This therefore means that the church can very well go through the tribulation without being at the mercy of God’s wrath at the same time. As outlined previously then, it is at the 6th seal that Christ comes and take the saints out of the way after which time the 7th seal, which is God’s wrath is poured out. The problem for pre-tribulation believers however is that they wrongly coincided Gods wrath with the first 4 seals (instead of to the 7th only) and thereby presumes that the church is raptured before these 7 seven seals are fulfilled. Thus they designated the elect of Matt 24:31 as tribulation saints (or “invited guests” to the marriage supper of the Lamb) instead of considering them as part of the church. We shall soon find out however if these claims are true.
Now moving on to Revelations 7 we see from verse 1 and 2 that the four angels were given instructions not to hurt the earth until God’s servants were sealed. In other words this sealing had to occur before the pouring out of God’s wrath which occurred later in Rev 8. This process was part of the gathering of the elect from the four winds as outlined in Matt 24:31. First we see the 144,000 who were sealed then we see from verse 9 a great multitude of people from every nation kindred and tongue clothed in white and standing before the throne of God. We know who the 144,000 are from Rev 14 but what of the great multitude clothed in white robes which no man could number? Note here that the elect of God was gathered after the tribulation as per Matt 24:31. Bearing that in mind we read from Rev 7:13:
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Emphasis mine)
So then the elect which are gathered after the tribulation are the same as the great multitude clothed in white and standing in front of God’s throne. Could these be “tribulation saints” only or merely “invited guests” to the marriage supper? It would be expedient to introduce 1 Thess 4 here for further light and we read:
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Can I here a halleluiah? Bless God, the mystery is solved!!! The scripture here says those that were dead in Christ and those that are alive (even those through the tribulation) unto the coming of the Lord shall be caught up together with Jesus and the key here is the phrase, “and so shall we ever be with the Lord”. Now going back to Rev 7:13-17 quoted above, who do we see the Lamb (Jesus) sitting and dwelling amongst, paying particular attention to the phrase, “and so shall we ever be with the Lord”? We see that it is the great multitude which came out of great tribulation that serves Jesus night and day in the temple and that Jesus is sitting and dwelling amongst. Further, it is this multitude that Jesus is seen feeding. This is the marriage supper of the Lamb!! To God be the Glory for revealing His Word. If this multitude were merely “tribulation saints” or “invited guests” to the marriage supper, where is the church? There is no mention of any other group from earth anywhere in the text. Maybe the Lord put them somewhere else with the intention to visit them later? But that would violate the phrase “and so shall we ever be with the Lord”. It should be clear then that the church is the same as the elect (or part of the elect) and is the same as the great multitude which Jesus can be seen dwelling amongst and feeding around the throne. If this is true then where is the pre-tribulation rapture? Noting that 1 Thess 4:15-17 is used as part of the supporting evidence. In addition, the conspicuous absence of the term ecclesia from Revelations chapter 3 onwards cannot be used as evidence for a pre-tribulation rapture as this is mere speculation.
Now let’s return to the “Marriage Supper” which occurs in Rev 19 to see how it fits in with the events of Rev 6 and 7 and indeed if it constitutes a separate event. It should be noted here that the pre-tribulation believers suggest that the “marriage supper” occurs at the rapture which they say occurs before the tribulation. Therefore they attempt here to make the church distinct from the elect who are gathered after the tribulation. So what does Rev 19 tell us? We read:
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints
We know from scripture that the Church has always been described as the bride of Christ, so therefore the marriage of the Lamb constitute the church being united with Jesus Christ. The church therefore we can see be seen here in verse 8 clothed in white linen at the marriage which occurs at the time of the judging of the great whore and at the time when God avenged her for the blood of the saints (see verse 2). Recall that at the opening of the 5th seal the souls under the altar asked God how long till He avenged their blood. The response was that they should wait till their fellowservants and brethren were to be killed by. Now we can see that these fellow servants and brethren were they that were to be killed by the great whore which existed at the time of the anti-christ’s reign. The marriage of the Lamb therefore occurred at the opening of the 6th seal as clearly it is at this point we see the multitude clothed in white before God’s throne.
In summary it is clear then that if we place scripture upon scripture, line upon line, we can come to the knowledge of the truth. What we must never do is to hold to a belief then to seek evidence to support that belief even to the point of conjecture and innuendo but rather to look at what the scripture tell us. If we follow the timeline of the 7 seals, especially from the 5th seal onwards we can see clearly that there is no room for a pre-tribulation rapture argument. There is no scripture in the Bible which supports that argument and if it did exist it would run contrary to all the scriptures I have presented here. The fact that the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture is appealing and comforting to us should not give us reason to stretch scripture and resort to conjecture in order to build a doctrine.