“Is this the end?”
“Is this the Tribulation?”
“Is this the time of God’s Wrath?”
The short answer is no, not yet….but what we are seeing may be a pre-cursor of events yet to come!
A pre-cursor of an event is an event which comes before and indicates its approach; a forerunner; a harbinger. Let’s take a look at a few scripture references on this topic of pre-cursors. Amos 3:7 tells us that “…GOD does nothing unless HE reveals HIS secret counsel to HIS servants the prophets.” (NASB) In Matthew 24, JESUS told HIS disciples what signs to look for in advance of HIS return. In fact, 2 Kings chapter 2 tells of the time when the prophet Elijah was taken to heaven. In this account we see that not only was Elisha aware of the event that would occur that day, but so were the “sons of the prophets who were at Bethel”. Clearly there have been times where GOD shows HIS people pre-cursors of events that will soon come!
According to scripture, the Tribulation will be a time of unprecedented terror which will come upon the inhabitants of the earth. It will be a seven-year period of time occurring right before the return of Christ to the earth and after the rapture of the church. (At least for those of us who interpret scripture as a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.) The seven-year tribulation period will actually begin with the signing of a covenant between the nation of Israel and the Antichrist. You may have also heard the Tribulation referred to as “Daniel’s 70th week” or “the time of Jacob’s trouble”. Whatever words you use to refer to it, the Tribulation is a period of time nobody would want to be on the earth to see, since this period will be a time of the outpouring of God’s Wrath upon the earth through a series of 21 specific judgements.
The book of Revelation, Chapter 6 verses 1 through 8, tells us about the first of these judgements and is sometimes referred to as “the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Let’s take a look:
Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.
When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”
When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
Each of these four horses is used to describe a specific judgement which will come upon the inhabitants of the earth during the tribulation.
The first Horse is the White Horse which represents a world leader who will come to power and be at the forefront throughout much of the Tribulation Period. Most bible scholars believe that this Ruler on the White Horse refers to the Antichrist. The description here which speaks of the Antichrist having a bow and a crown is important because it does not refer to him having arrows with his bow. This implies that the rider on the White Horse will take control through means of diplomacy rather than war. It is interesting to note that until very recently, one person taking on leadership for the whole world would have been inconceivable. However, look at what has happened this year with the Global Pandemic and how the entire world was essentially shut down by the edict of a few leaders who used the “well-being”, “health” and “safety” of the people as the rationale to shut everything down and force people into their homes.
The second Horse is the Red Horse and this horse represents war or violence. Could it be that there are some who will rebel after the “rider on the White Horse” comes to power and those same people are made to “come under control” through the use of violence? Jesus spoke of “wars and rumors of wars” (Matt 24:6) as a sign of HIS return. Have you noticed the increase in violence that we have seen throughout the first 20 years of this century? There is no doubt that we are heading to this time where the Red Horse of Violence will be used to bring people into alignment.
The third Horse is the Black Horse and is a symbol of famine. Consider the behavior we saw during the early part of the Global Pandemic this spring with people hoarding things like toilet paper and disinfectant. A behavior that led to shelves at supermarkets being empty for several weeks sending some into panic. This hoarding behavior quickly became even worse with people buying up more meat than they could eat which coupled with sickness of individuals at meat packing plants led to limits on the amount of meat people could buy. This scarcity also served to drive up the price of meat over the last few months. In fact, on May 12 2020, CNBC reported that US grocery costs jump the most in 46 years, led by rising prices for meat and eggs. Meanwhile, we are also seeing one of the worst Locust outbreaks around the world, the full impact of which is yet to be seen. The famine referred to in the book of Revelation during the Tribulation will be much worse than anything we have yet seen, however, suddenly, we can see how it can happen.
The fourth Horse it the Pale Horse and it represents Death most likely as a result of war, famine and PESTILENCE. The definition of a PESTILENCE is a contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating. Up until 2020 it was pretty hard to imagine how something like a contagious disease could impact the whole world. Now after living with COVID-19 throughout the last few months and seeing over 6.7 Million people infected and almost 400 thousand deaths worldwide, it no longer takes a stretch of the imagination to see how a pestilence can cripple the entire world.
The good news today is that we are starting to see clear signs of recovery from the global pandemic. The even better news is that no, we are not yet in the tribulation. This gives us the best news, which is that we can get right with the LORD today to ensure we are with HIM, enjoying the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, while the earth is facing the Tribulation. Do not delay your decision any longer…the time of HIS return is VERY CLOSE!