The tribulation period will be a time of deception, war, famine, and death for the occupants of the world. The Antichrist will rise to power and masquerade as the Messiah, pretending to bring peace, but instead bringing war. In this message, we learn what will unfold when the first four seals are opened and their terrors are unleashed on the earth.
Connect Group Recap: February 7, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Text: Revelation 6:1-8
Pastor Skip continued to walk us through the book of Revelation, unveiling what the future holds. In this teaching, he spoke of the four horsemen, looking at the ghastly events that will transpire with their stampede across the earth: deception, war, famine, and death—a mad dash that will eliminate everything in their path.
- White Horse (vv.1-2)
- Red Horse (vv. 3-4)
- Black Horse (vv. 5-6)
- Pale Green Horse (vv. 7-8)Points
White Horse: Deception (vv. 1-2)
- Though the horse is white (usually a symbol of good), this horse represents deception: the Antichrist will be the impostor riding the horse. He will ride into town proclaiming peace (notice the bow with no arrows), but really he is the "son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3; see Revelation 17:8-11).
- This rider will have a temporary laurel (a symbol of victory and honor), but he is the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing. He will seem to solve the Middle East crises and let the Jews rebuild the temple.
- Probe: Because Christians will be gone from the earth, discuss ways the Antichrist will be able to deceive people during the tribulation period.
Red Horse: War (vv. 3-4)
- The second horseman rides a red horse, associated with terror, carnage, and death (see Revelation 12:3; 17:3).
- This horseman will usher in war (see Daniel 8; Matthew 24), culminating in the mother of all wars: Armageddon.
- Because of the proliferation of nuclear warheads in today's world, this prophecy is a reality: modern society has the capability to destroy the earth in one hour.
- Probe: Pastor Skip pointed out that the United States has an arsenal of 35,000 nuclear weapons, equivalent to 460 million tons of TNT. Though this is powerful, discuss the dreaded danger of what the four horsemen can unleash in a supernatural way (see Revelation 16:14).
Black Horse: Famine (vv. 5-6)
- The third horseman carries scales, used for measuring, rationing, and weighing. He will usher in a food shortage, leading to malnutrition and disease.
- A denarius was a day's wage. All money will be used to buy low-nutrient content food such as barley, leading to a severe famine.
- When you add the nuclear fallout and waste from the second horseman's attacks, imagine the contamination unleashed upon the world.
- Probe: Read Mark 13:8. How is Jesus' prophecy fulfilled in this section of Revelation?
Pale Green Horse: Death (vv. 7-8)
Connect Up: Even in the midst of destruction and death, Christians are called to trust in God (see Job 13:15; Psalm 23), allowing Him to defend and deliver us in times of need. How can God's people use the forthcoming destruction to draw near to Christ? How can evil cause us to enjoy Jesus more?
- The last horseman, Death, rides along with Hades, bringing untold destruction upon the earth, leaving one-fourth of the population dead.
- There are two interpretations of the text "beasts of the earth":
- The wild beasts of the earth that prey upon people due to the weakened state of humanity
- Rats: much like how rats brought the Black Death during the Middle Ages, they could carry disease and death during the tribulation
- Probe: Pastor Skip pointed out that the Antichrist is everything Jesus is not. Or conversely, what the Antichrist is not, Jesus is. The Antichrist will be everything the world says it wants, but Jesus will be everything the world truly needs. Discuss how Jesus will make Himself known during the tribulation. Who will He use to proclaim the good news (see Revelation 7)?
Connect In: Read Romans 12:13, Galatians 6:2, and Philippians 2:4. Pastor Skip pointed out that Christians will not be on the earth during the tribulation, but for now, how are we to act toward one another in the personal troubles and trials we walk through on a regular basis?
Connect Out: As the reality of the tribulation comes more and more into focus, what effect should its reality have on your willingness to evangelize? Read Romans 8:14-28, and ask your heavenly Father to show you how He would use you to build His kingdom. Take a few moments to pray for family and friends who don't know the Lord. Develop a strategy of ministering to them, whether it's inviting them to church or providing them with the tools (books, CDs, etc.) needed to answer questions. Pray for an opportunity to share the gospel.
- A large stampede of animals will eliminate everything in its path
- A force of destruction
- Has the potential to kill anything in its path
- The figures in this passage have been referred to as the four horsemen of the apocalypse
- They are all a different color
- Fiery red
- Pale green
- They represent the key events from the tribulation
- Revelation 6-19
- Seal judgments
- Revelation 5
- The scroll was opened by the Lamb
- The seals are the judgments that will come to the earth
- As each one is opened, it will devastate the earth
- There are sixty places in Scripture that refer to the tribulation
- Besides the topic of salvation and prophecies about Christ, this is the most number of references to a single topic
- Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21
- We have not experienced this yet in history
- The judgments will be progressive and increasingly intense
- The number seven is significant
- Seven seal judgments
- Seven trumpet judgments
- Seven bowl judgments
- White Horse: Deception (vv. 1-2)
- A counterfeit Christ
- Many people will believe this is the first coming of Jesus
- Jesus will come on a white horse at the end of the tribulation to end war, carnage, and bloodshed
- This rider will come at the beginning of the tribulation and will bring war, carnage, and bloodshed
- Jesus will have many crowns on His head
- Diademata (Revelation 19:12)= crowns
- The crowns of a permanent king
- This rider will have one crown on his head
- Stephanos = a crown
- A temporary crown made out of laurel leaves
- The kind of crown given to someone who won a race
- Jesus will come with a sword (see Revelation 19)
- This rider will come with a bow
- A symbol of the hunt
- Genesis 10
- Nimrod the hunter established the first empire of Babylon
- Flaming arrows of the Evil One (see Ephesians 6:16)
- The Antichrist
- Will promise peace
- He will have a bow but no arrows
- Indicates he will have victory not by military means; he will be a master negotiator
- Will overtake the world uncontested
- A wolf in sheep's clothing
- Temporary peace
- Will bring peace in the Middle East
- Will break that covenant
- He will suddenly show his true colors and people will see him for the deceiver he is
- Sudden destruction (see 1 Thessalonians 5:3)
- Red Horse: War (vv. 3-4)
- The color red = terror and carnage (see Revelation 12:3; 17:3)
- The Antichrist will plunge the entire world into the most devastating kind of war
- He will have a great sword
- Peace will vanish from the earth
- Daniel 8:24; Matthew 24:4-7
- We have always seen war
- Humans have always found ways to kill each other
- The world has seen more war than it has seen peace
- The wars in the tribulation will escalate to the final battle of Armageddon (see Revelation 16:16)
- Currently, the combined nuclear firepower that exists in all the nations that possess those capabilities has the power to destroy the entire world in one hour
- Luke 21:25-26
- Black Horse: Famine (vv. 5-6)
- Famine is a result of war
- People will spend everything they have to buy food
- The population of the world has increased dramatically in recent years
- More people means more war
- More war means more famine
- Warfare can contaminate food supplies
- All of the believers will be gone in the rapture
- No churches to collect food and clothing for people
- Church- or believer-run charitable organizations will cease to exist
- Matthew 24:7
- Pale Green Horse: Death (vv. 7-8)
- Hades will follow Death on a fifth horse
- Will take out one-fourth of the world's population
- Destroyed by war, famine, and disease
- People will also be destroyed by the beasts of the earth
- Wild beasts could possibly feed on the weakness of people
- This could also possibly refer to rats
- They thrive in populated areas
- They are prolific
- They carry disease
- Everything the Antichrist is, Jesus is not
- The Antichrist is the false king; Jesus is the true King
- The Antichrist promises peace but brings war; Jesus promises peace and will end all war
- The Antichrist will bring famine; Jesus is the Bread of Life (see John 6:35)
- The Antichrist will bring everything the world says it wants; Jesus will be everything the world needs
Greek words: diademata, stephanos
Cross references: Genesis 10; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 8:24; 12:1; Matthew 24:4-7, 21; Luke 21:25-26; John 6:35; Ephesians 6:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Revelation 5; 6-19; 12:3; 16:16; 17:3