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Stampede - Revelation 6:1-8

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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.

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2/7/2016
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Stampede
Revelation 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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.
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What's Next?

What's Next?

We live in a culture that is constantly asking, "What's next?" We want to know the latest fashions, trends, stocks, and gadgets. In a world that's always looking for the next big thing, we can sometimes forget the most important thing. As Christians, we are called to wait with anticipation for the return of Christ. In this series through the book of Revelation, we look forward and ask ourselves, "What's next?"

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Outline

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  1. White Horse (vv. 1-2)

  2. Red Horse (vv. 3-4)

  3. Black Horse (vv. 5-6)

  4. Pale Green Horse (vv. 7-8)

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap: February 7, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Stampede"
Text:  Revelation 6:1-8

Path

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.
    1. White Horse (vv.1-2)
    2. Red Horse (vv. 3-4)
    3. Black Horse (vv. 5-6)
    4. 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)
  • 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)?
Practice

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?

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.

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. A large stampede of animals will eliminate everything in its path
      1. A force of destruction
      2. Has the potential to kill anything in its path
    2. The figures in this passage have been referred to as the four horsemen of the apocalypse
    3. They are all a different color
      1. White
      2. Fiery red
      3. Black
      4. Pale green
    4. They represent the key events from the tribulation
      1. Revelation 6-19
      2. Seal judgments
    5. Revelation 5
      1. The scroll was opened by the Lamb
      2. The seals are the judgments that will come to the earth
    6. As each one is opened, it will devastate the earth
      1. There are sixty places in Scripture that refer to the tribulation
      2. Besides the topic of salvation and prophecies about Christ, this is the most number of references to a single topic
    7. Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21
    8. We have not experienced this yet in history
    9. The judgments will be progressive and increasingly intense
    10. The number seven is significant
      1. Seven seal judgments
      2. Seven trumpet judgments
      3. Seven bowl judgments
  2. White Horse: Deception (vv. 1-2)
    1. A counterfeit Christ
      1. Many people will believe this is the first coming of Jesus
      2. Jesus will come on a white horse at the end of the tribulation to end war, carnage, and bloodshed
      3. This rider will come at the beginning of the tribulation and will bring war, carnage, and bloodshed
      4. Jesus will have many crowns on His head
        1. Diademata (Revelation 19:12)= crowns
        2. The crowns of a permanent king
      5. This rider will have one crown on his head
        1. Stephanos = a crown
        2. A temporary crown made out of laurel leaves
        3. The kind of crown given to someone who won a race
      6. Jesus will come with a sword (see Revelation 19)
      7. This rider will come with a bow
        1. A symbol of the hunt
        2. Genesis 10
        3. Nimrod the hunter established the first empire of Babylon
        4. Flaming arrows of the Evil One (see Ephesians 6:16)
    2. The Antichrist
      1. Will promise peace
        1. He will have a bow but no arrows
        2. Indicates he will have victory not by military means; he will be a master negotiator
      2. Will overtake the world uncontested
      3. A wolf in sheep's clothing
      4. Temporary peace
        1. Will bring peace in the Middle East
        2. Will break that covenant
      5. He will suddenly show his true colors and people will see him for the deceiver he is
      6. Sudden destruction (see 1 Thessalonians 5:3)
  3. Red Horse: War (vv. 3-4)
    1. The color red = terror and carnage (see Revelation 12:3; 17:3)
    2. The Antichrist will plunge the entire world into the most devastating kind of war
    3. He will have a great sword
      1. Peace will vanish from the earth
      2. Daniel 8:24; Matthew 24:4-7
    4. We have always seen war
      1. Humans have always found ways to kill each other
      2. The world has seen more war than it has seen peace
    5. The wars in the tribulation will escalate to the final battle of Armageddon (see Revelation 16:16)
    6. 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
    7. Luke 21:25-26
  4. Black Horse: Famine (vv. 5-6)
    1. Famine is a result of war
    2. People will spend everything they have to buy food
    3. The population of the world has increased dramatically in recent years
      1. More people means more war
      2. More war means more famine
    4. Warfare can contaminate food supplies
    5. All of the believers will be gone in the rapture
      1. No churches to collect food and clothing for people
      2. Church- or believer-run charitable organizations will cease to exist
    6. Matthew 24:7
  5. Pale Green Horse: Death (vv. 7-8)
    1. Hades will follow Death on a fifth horse
    2. Will take out one-fourth of the world's population
    3. Destroyed by war, famine, and disease
    4. People will also be destroyed by the beasts of the earth
      1. Wild beasts could possibly feed on the weakness of people
      2. This could also possibly refer to rats
        1. They thrive in populated areas
        2. They are prolific
        3. They carry disease
  6. Closing
    1. Everything the Antichrist is, Jesus is not
    2. The Antichrist is the false king; Jesus is the true King
    3. The Antichrist promises peace but brings war; Jesus promises peace and will end all war
    4. The Antichrist will bring famine; Jesus is the Bread of Life (see John 6:35)
    5. 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


Transcript

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Hello, and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray that God uses these messages to reach people around the world. And we're so thankful to hear stories of lives being changed by His love. If this message impacts you, we would love to know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you could give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving.

In our series, "What's Next," we look at the Book of Revelation to see what the future holds. The coming tribulation period will be a time of suffering that the world has not even yet known. As Skip shares the message "Stampede," we learn about the destruction the Four Horsemen will bring when they unleashed on the earth. Now, we invite you to mark your Bibles in Revelation chapter six as Skip begins.

Welcome, every one. I should call this weekend, as well, Warning Weekend because we happen to be in a pretty gnarly text of scripture about what's coming. We're doing a series called "What's Next," a study in the Book of Revelation. And we are, today, in chapter six of Revelation. And when I was preparing this message, I thought back to a conversation I had with my parents.

When I first gave my life to Christ, I was living at home. And I was sharing my new-found faith with great excitement to my parents who raised me in a certain church. And they didn't want to hear their son tell them about spiritual things. And they were quite put off and angered by it. So one day, I just said, just hear my heart. The only reason I'm telling you these things is I want to see you in heaven forever.

And so let me just say that we welcome you to church. But we'd really want to see you in heaven forever. That's our ultimate end game here.

[APPLAUSE]

The title of this message is "Stampede" because it's about four horses, perhaps even a fifth, that come out of the chute. And like a stampede, a herd, devastation is in their wake. Most of you know that certain animals have herd instincts. And they can be frightened easily. For instance, if somebody lights a match at night, that could spook the herd. And they could go on a stampeded. It could be as simple as a tumbleweed blowing through that just gets one of them fired up, and all of them will stampede.

Of course, who can forget the most famous stampede of all times. It comes from the Disney movie-- do you know it? When Mufasa was killed-- Lion King, Mufasa was killed by the wildebeest stampede, right? Well, that didn't happen. Now that's just a movie. So, apart from that, in real life when a stampede happens, we are told that it removes everything that is alive. It has that potential. It is a force of destruction, eliminating everything in its path.

In Revelation chapter six, there's a stampede of four horses. That's how John sees them, four colored horses that are four cataclysmic judgments upon the earth. It is called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Typically, that's how they have been called. But these horses are very different. Their color is unlike anything you've ever seen.

Well, perhaps the first one-- you've all seen a white horse. But then the second horse is a fiery red horse followed by an ominous black horse followed, fourth, by a pale green horse. I don't think you've ever seen an array of horses like that. It's sort of like watching a Western on LSD. I mean, this thing is a wild vision. Sorry to plant that in your mind. But that's what comes to my mind.

This incredible, dramatic scene that John sees played out in front of him-- and what we have here, essentially, is what I would see as a trailer to the rest of the book. It is a summary, in chapter six, of the details that will follow in the subsequent chapters, all the way to chapter 19. So it spans, I believe, the entire period called the Tribulation Period that is still to come upon the earth.

Now, if you remember back in chapter five, there was a scene in heaven. John was taken up to heaven. And he saw somebody sitting on the throne. It was God the Father, of the ruler of heaven and earth. And there was a scroll in God's right hand. And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was worthy, had the right to take that scroll and break open the seals. That's how ancient documents were closed, with little wax seals. The only one worthy was Jesus, the Lamb that was slain, the lion of the tribe of Judah. He has prevailed. And he takes the scroll. And now he begins to break open the seals, as we see in chapter six.

Now, this stampede that comes in this chapter will devastate the earth. There's no other way to put it. This is not just a tribulation. This is the tribulation. And what you need to know is that the tribulation period-- this coming cataclysmic series of judgments that's coming on the earth-- is written about in no less than 60 different places in the Bible. There is no subject that is treated as much in the Bible, except for two other subjects, as the tribulation period. The two other subjects are salvation and the Second Coming. Coming in third is this period called the tribulation period.

There were dark ages, but this is the darkest age. There were tough times. This is the toughest time that is coming. That's quite a statement. I googled the other day-- I wrote in, "the worst moments in history." And I got a series of websites. But there was something in common in all of them. And that is these events that were counted as the worst times in human history-- World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, the Black Plague in Europe, the bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, all of those were in the list of the worst moments in human history.

But if I'm reading my Bible correctly, all of those times pale in comparison to what's coming. Listen to what Jeremiah writes. Jeremiah 30, verse 7, "Alas, for that day is great so that none is like it." The prophet Daniel said in chapter 12, "there will be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." Even Jesus himself, in Matthew 24, made the same prediction when He writes, "for then there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world nor ever shall be."

Something to watch for as we go through not just this chapter but subsequent ones, the judgments described here are progressive and increasingly intense. And there's a pattern to them. They're seven and then seven and then seven. So there's seven seals on that scroll, each representing a judgment. At the seventh seal-- when it is broken, it will usher in seven more judgments called trumpet judgments, where trumpets are blown making the announcement.

And then the seventh trumpet-- when that is blown, that will usher in a final set of what's called bowl judgments. It's as if the wrath of God is poured from a bowl upon the earth. But when those are done, it's done. When those are done, that's the final judgment. There will be no more judgement. It will be over. Then Jesus will return. Then Satan will be bound. Then the Kingdom will be established.

But for now, we back up. And we read in drama form these four horses and four horsemen. And first in the stampede is a white horse, verse one. "Now I saw when the lamb opened one of the seals. And I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a loud 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."

So in the old movies, in those Westerns, when a guy comes riding into town on a white horse, what do you think? You think, that's the hero. That's the good guy. And so people, in reading this, think this is the good guy. But hold that thought.

If I wanted to make counterfeit $20 bills, don't you think I'd want to make them look like the original? If I want to fake you out, I don't want to give you a bill that has Obama's face on the front of it or Donald Trump's face on the front of it. I want Andrew Jackson front and center, bold and clear. I want you to think it's as real as possible. That's the idea of a counterfeit.

Well, this first rider is such a good counterfeit that people have been fooled as to his identity as they will be fooled when this time comes. Some have thought that this rider on the white horse is none other than Jesus Christ. I want you to know that doesn't fit. It doesn't fit because Jesus comes on a white horse at the end of the tribulation period, in chapter 19. And when he comes, he comes to end carnage and end warfare and end bloodshed. This rider comes at the beginning of the tribulation. And because he comes, he ushers in devastation and carnage and bloodshed and war.

Also, Jesus, in Revelation 19, has many crowns on his head-- the Greek word diademata, the crowns of rulers, the crowns of kings, the permanent crown of a sovereign. But this rider in chapter five has a very different kind of a crown. The Greek word is stefanas. And a stefanas was a temporary crown made out of rate laurel leaves, placed on the head of somebody who would win a race, like in a marathon. They would be given a little of laurel or olive branch crown that would fade away. So it would be a very temporary kind of victory.

Furthermore, Jesus, in Revelation 19, comes with a sword dipped in the blood of His enemies. This rider has a bow-- not a sword, a bow, which is a symbol of the hunt. Now, you Bible students will remember back in Genesis chapter 10, the first idea of the hunt came with a guy by the name of Nimrod the hunter. It says he was a mighty hunter before the Lord-- or, literally, against the Lord. And Nimrod, a mighty hunter-- or some translations say bowsman-- established the first empire of Babel, which became Babylon. So Nimrod comes as sort of the first world dictator, a bowsman as this one comes, with a bow conquering and to conquer.

Also, listen to what it says an Ephesians 6. Paul writes, "take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one." Where do the arrows come from? What are they shot with? A bow. Folks, this is not Jesus Christ. This is the Antichrist. This is a clever imitation. This is an impostor on a white horse.

And he comes riding into town in peace. He comes with a bow but no arrows, which suggests a victory not by military means. But he's the master negotiator. He comes into town. And people think, this guy is going to bring peace. He is the hero. He's the hero on the white horse. And so he is given a crown. He is given authority.

It turns out, as you put all the scriptures together and you go through the Book of Revelation, this is the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing. He'll manage to bring a temporary kind of a peace. He'll even be able to make peace between the Arabs and the Israelis. He'll build a temple for the Jewish nation. But in the middle of that seven-year time period, he will break that covenant. The mask will be ripped off. And people will see him as the big, bad wolf that he is. The impostor will be uncovered.

You know, just a half a century ago this happened in Europe. A guy came on the scene and was rising to power. His name was Adolf Hitler. And do you know that, when he started his rise to power, that the Western allies-- especially the French and the British-- thought he was the hero of the day? He was the man of peace who would solve the world's problems.

At that time, the prime minister of Great Britain was Neville Chamberlain. Neville Chamberlain actually met with the Fuhrer in Munich and came back waving a piece of paper that Hitler signed, a peace treaty. Among the words that were written on it were, "peace with honor, peace for our time." There was only one person who saw through the mask of Adolf Hitler. That was Winston Churchill. He said, don't trust him. This guy is bad news. But it was too late. By the time anybody could figure that out, the world was plunged into war.

And that's going to happen again but in spades. 1 Thessalonians chapter five, Paul writes, "when they say peace and safety, then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they will not escape." Why won't they escape? Because this cowboy has friends. This cowboy doesn't ride alone. He comes into town, but there are other horses coming. And it is not a peace parade. It's a stampede.

So after the first horse-- the white horse, which is deception, I'll call it-- comes a second horse, the red horse. Verse three, "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."

So whoever that first cowboy was on that first horse, the peace that he brings doesn't last. In its place will come devastation in the form of this great dramatic vision, a fiery red horse. Now, in the Bible red is a color that is often associated with carnage or terrorism. In Revelation 12, there's a red dragon. Revelation 17, there's a red beast. And just as Adolf Hitler promised peace but plunged the world in to war, the Antichrist will promise peace but plunge the entire globe into the most devastating kind of war.

Notice what's mentioned in verse four, "a great sword." So with the first rider there was a bow and no arrows. That is put down. And in its place, a great sword, an implement of destruction or warfare is taken up. Peace now vanishes from the earth. Daniel the prophet, seeing into the future about this coming world dictator, said "his power will be mighty but not by his own power. He shall destroy fearfully and shall prosper and thrive. And he shall destroy the mighty."

Now, didn't Jesus predict this same sequence? Remember Matthew 24, his disciples said, so you're talking about the end. And you're coming. So what are the signs of that? When are these things going to happen? And Jesus said, "take heed that no one deceive you. For somebody's going to come in my name saying, I am the Christ, and deceive many." And He continues, "you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Nation against nation and kingdom will rise against kingdom," same sequence as we see here.

Some of you are thinking, oh, come on. We've always had war on earth. That's a very important observation. I'm glad you made it. We have always had wars. Ever since man has been on the earth, we've figured out ways to kill each other. Whether it's with our bare hands or sticks or stones or bullets or bombs, we have figured out ways to go to war. In fact, most of our history has not been peaceful even though, for years and years and years, politicians always say, peace is coming, I'm going to bring it. Peace is coming, I'm going to bring it. We don't see it.

According to the Norwegian Academy of Sciences, since 3600 BC there have been 14,531 wars and only 292 years of what would be considered peace. This is approximately 2.6 wars per year and one year of peace out of every two decades-- or 36 hours of peace per month or one minute of peace every four hours. That's as good as it has ever gotten, one minute of peace every four hours.

Well, that's going to increase. It's going to increase in this period of time we're dealing with, the tribulation period, to a fever pitch. And that will culminate in what we could call the mother of all battles, the Battle of Armageddon. That's not just a movie. They took the movie from a real predicted event in the Bible, Revelations 16. And we'll get to that later on. In verse 14, it says "the kings of the earth and the whole world gather together to the battle"-- not a battle, "the battle."

And folks, here's why this is so relevant today much more so than it was when John wrote this, much more so than 1000 AD or even 100 years ago. The reason this is so relevant today is we now, on planet Earth, have the capabilities to destroy the entire planet in one hour. We have the capabilities like never known before.

In July of 1945, here in Alamo Gordo, New Mexico. A test bomb went off. The atom bomb was detonated in real time. And it was filmed. It was photographed. It was analyzed. It was studied as a weapon of mass destruction. And three weeks after it was detonated, President Truman used it-- or one like it-- to flatten the city of Hiroshima in Japan. That was then.

Today, according to the Center for Defense Information, the United States alone-- this is just our country alone-- has an arsenal 35,000 nuclear weapons, nuclear warheads. Each warhead is equivalent to the capacity of 460 million tons of TNT, which is 35,000 times greater than the bomb that went off at Hiroshima. Now think of that. One of those 35,000 weapons-- one weapon has 35,000 times greater leveling destructive capacity than that single bomb. And that's just the United States. There are now-- as far as we know, there may be more-- nine nations on earth with nuclear capabilities-- the United States, England, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea, and Israel, though officially they won't admit that.

A man of peace comes, a bow and no arrows. The bow is put down. A great sword is taken up. And warfare will ensue. No wonder Jesus described that time by saying, "there will be distress of nations with perplexity, men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming." What a vision, what a stampede this is, for John in heaven, to see what's going on on the earth at that time.

So the white horse is deception, the red horse, war-- but there are more. There's a black horse coming up. Verse five, "when he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'come and see.'" Now, by this point, if I were John, I'd say, no thanks. I have seen enough. I don't want to see anymore. "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 creature 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.'"

This rider has a pair of scales, scales we use for measuring, weighing, rationing. I believe what we are seeing here is the description of a famine. Now, famine is always the result of war. Wherever there is war, there will follow famine because there's always a shortage of food. Food supplies are destroyed. Transportation is hit.

Let me ask you something. Have you ever been hungry? I'm noticing a little hesitation in answering that, which is a good hesitation to have in light of what we're talking about. When I say, have you ever been hungry, I don't mean, did you ever miss lunch and then turn to your buddy and say, I'm starving to death? Because that's how we talk. But, in reality, probably no one here has ever been starving, been that hungry.

But there's a lot of this world that is right now. Do you know that, today-- in this day and age, before all this happens-- there are 795 million in people up to 805 million people that are classified as chronically malnourished, which means they don't have enough food to lead a healthy life? That means one out of every nine people on this globe goes to bed hungry every single night. Do you know that malnutrition, today, kills more people than AIDS, TB, and malaria put together? And that's now. What about then?

Notice what is described in verse six, "a quart of wheat for a denarius and three quarts of barley for a denarius." Now, a quart of wheat, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, was the daily allotment for a single soldier in warfare. It was the bare minimum for a soldier to be active on the battlefield, the rations given to a soldier.

A denarius was a day's wage for a common workers. So the idea here is that you will spend everything you have just to find something to eat. And then it says three quarts of barley for a denarius. Barley was considered lower in nutrition. It was usually fed to animals rather than humans. The point being there will be severe famine conditions as a result, probably, of war.

Now, let me give you another scenario as well. Let me add to the picture. See, one of our problems right now on the earth is just the amount of people that are on this little marble called the earth. It took from the beginning of recorded history to the year 1850 to produce one billion people on the earth. It took that long. By 1850, we had now one billion people on the earth. But it only took from 1850 to 1930 to produce two billion.

By 1960, just 30 years later, we were at three billion. By 1975, four billion. By 1987, five billion. By 1999, six billion. Today the population of this earth right now is 7.4 billion people and growing exponentially, as you can see. That produces a lot of problems because the more people you have in any situation, the more odds of them not getting along together and going to war over lots of issues, and thus the more problem you have for famine to sustain that many people in that mess.

Add to that the contamination from the use of nuclear weapons used in a modern war situation. Some of you will remember, back in 1986, what happened in Chernobyl in the Ukraine when that nuclear reactor melted down. Do you know what that did? Milk cows as far away as Western Europe were contaminated by what happened in the Ukraine. So can you imagine a use of nuclear capabilities in modern warfare, what that would do to the food supplies of our planet?

Add to that the fact that all the Christians will have gone up in the Rapture before the tribulation period-- so no more Samaritan's Purse, no more World Vision, no more Feed the Children. That paints a very dismal, desperate picture. By the way, isn't this exactly the same sequence that Jesus gave in Matthew 24. When the disciples asked Him what's going to happen, He said, there's going to be deception, first of all. And then you're going to hear of wars and rumors of wars and nations fighting against nation. And then Jesus said, and there will be famines. And so this is being played out in dramatic form right before John's eyes.

White horse, deception; red horse, war; black horse, famine-- the stampede isn't over. There's one horse left-- perhaps two, actually, one that isn't described. And that is verse 7, the pale horse. "When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, 'come and see.' And so I looked and behold a pale horse." Chloros is the Greek word. It means a pale green, chlorine-colored horse, a chloros horse.

"And the name of him who sat on it was death." But notice this, "and Hades"-- or hell-- "followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth to kill with a sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth." So this rider doesn't ride alone. This rider has somebody with them. Death rides with Hell. It's like two notorious outlaws riding into town. It's like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It's like Jesse and Frank James. It's like Bonnie and Clyde. It's Hell and Death riding together.

And this stampede has the capacity to take out 1/4 of the human population of the planet Earth. It's staggering to think about. I just mentioned that the population today 7.4 billion and growing. If that were to all happen right now, that would mean 1.86 billion people gone-- a fourth of the earth. Just to put it in perspective, the population of China is 1.3 billion. So a population base greater than all of China, during this period wiped out.

"To kill with the sword," that corresponds to the red horse of war. "With hunger," that corresponds to the black horse of famine. Then it says, "with death." Some believe this could be pestilence. But look at this, "and by the beasts of the earth." What could that possibly mean?

One scholar writes this, "as a country is engulfed in war, the able-bodied men take up arms. Farmers leave their fields and food supplies become scarce. Soon there is malnutrition followed by disease. Ultimately, the wild beasts prey upon the weakened people. Historians tell us," says this scholar, "that more people died of epidemics of influenza and typhoid after World War I than those the died in the war itself." That's shocking to think about.

Let me you another theory as to what these beasts could be. These beasts, as they're called here in the text, could refer to the most destructive creature on the earth. You know what that is? Rats. Rats thrive in virtually all populated areas. Rats are very prolific-- that is, they have lots and lots and lots of little rat babies. And they carry disease. I mentioned the Black Death in 14th century Europe. It killed 1/4 of the population of Europe. 1/4 of the population gone because of those rats and the rat-borne disease that they carried. That could be a reference to the beasts being rats.

So welcome to Calvary.

[LAUGHTER]

It might seem odd to have this sermon preached on Welcome Weekend. But listen, here's what you need to know. This stuff is real. This is going to happen. Just like all of the other predictions in the Bible that were uttered before they happened-- and they did-- this will happen one day. And I think you have probably enough moxie and understanding of what's going on in the world to see how that possibility of these things happening is right there.

So I want to welcome you go to church. But I really want to say, welcome to God's kingdom. I want you to come to Jesus Christ because we're looking at the Antichrist. He goes under several different titles. But that's the most typical and famous. And we see what the Antichrist produces. I'm saying, come to Jesus Christ. And watch what He produces in your life.

You see, everything the Antichrist is, Jesus is not. And everything the Antichrist is not, Jesus Christ is. So the Antichrist will be nothing more than a false, deceptive politician. Jesus Christ will be the faithful and true potentate, the King of the earth. The Antichrist promises peace, but he delivers war. Jesus promises peace, and He will deliver. The Antichrist brings famine. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. Whoever follows me and believes in me will never hunger." So the Antichrist will be everything the world says it wants. But Jesus Christ will be everything the world truly needs. And you need Him. You need him.

We want to be able to say to you, like I said to my parents, you may not like to hear this. But ultimately the end game is I want to see you in heaven. I want to see you escaping these things and be found in His grace and then found in His glory in heaven. That's why we preach the gospel. That's why we give people opportunities to know Jesus. And I want to give you that opportunity in just a moment.

Let's pray. Lord, thank you that you love us enough to tell us and show us through this incredibly difficult vision that John sees, called the Book of Revelation, what is coming on the earth. As John was told to write the things which he saw-- the things which are and the things which will take place after those things-- so he writes some difficult things.

And in seeing this stampede of horses coming out and bringing devastation in their way, we think, ultimately, at the end, when Jesus will return after having purged the earth and taking back the creation that is rightfully His and renovating it and remaking it and ruling in righteousness-- after man has had his ultimate day and no one has brought the peace that the world has so long for, Jesus, the Prince of Peace will do so. But Lord, I pray that we would find peace with God now, that in the meantime-- until there is worldwide peace-- there would be individual-wide peace, personal-wide peace as hearts are surrendered to you, as sin is forgiven, as people just trust in what Jesus did for them on Calvary's cross.

Our heads are bowed. Our eyes are closed. And I want to give you, now, an opportunity in thinking about this message to respond to this message. It could be that you've gone to church all your life. You've heard about Jesus, maybe from friends. Maybe you've got a church sporadically. So you've heard bits and pieces. It also could be that you are devoted to attending a church service every single week. However, you have yet to personally give your life to Him, to personally receive Him into your heart as your Savior. You haven't done that.

Others of you remember a time in the past when something spiritual happened. But whatever it was that happened, today-- right now-- it can't be said you're following Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You don't know that peace. You don't know that purpose in life. But you're here right now. And it's time for you to do something about that. Either come back to Him, if you I wandered, or come to Him for the first time in surrender.

So I want to give you that opportunity. Our heads are bowed. Our eyes are closed. My eyes are wide open so that I can see as you respond. And I'll acknowledge you as you do. If you want to receive Christ as your Savior-- to come to Him for the first time or come back to Him-- I want you to raise your hand high in the air. Keep it up for a moment so I can point it out and just acknowledge it.

God bless you, right up here in the front. Anyone else? Raise your hand. Raise your hand up high. God bless you on the left and way in the back, to my left. Raise your hand, anyone else. Raise it up high. Raise it up high. Even in the family room, raise your hands up. Say yes to help Him. God bless you, right over here and right over there, right toward the middle. Anyone else? Raise those hands up high. Raise them up high. In the balcony, God bless you and you and you, many of you, in the family room.

You know, Jesus said, "come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. You will find peace for your souls." What I noticed, when I gave my life to Christ when I was 18 years of age-- it's been awhile. I didn't have anything dramatic happen. The heavens didn't open. But I felt an alleviation of my guilt and a sense of peace come over me. And I thought, world peace or not, I found it. I found Him. He found me.

Is there anyone else who wants to take God up on His offer to have your sins forgiven? God bless you toward the back on my right. Father, we pray for these who raised those hands. Each person is very individual. But, Father, I pray that you would replace agitation and doubt with peace and joy, a sense of well being. I pray, Father, that you would do an incredible work so that they who have raised their hands and are about to receive Jesus Christ would leave very differently than how they came.

Lord, only you can do that. A pastor can't do that. A person can't do that. A band member can't do that. Only Jesus can do that. A church can't do that. Only you can do it. I pray that you will. Demonstrate, Lord, your love for them by assuring them, in their own hearts, of that peace. And with that peace, in Jesus' name, amen.

Would you stand to your feet, please? We're going to close with a song. And as we sing this song, I'm going to ask those of you who raised your hands to get up from where you're standing-- whether you're in the very back or toward the front. Find the nearest aisle and stand right here. And let me pray with you to receive Christ. Jesus called people publicly in the New Testament. He called them publicly. And I believe it's going to help you out to make a public stand for Him.

Counselors are coming to show you the way. Yeah, just say excuse me if you're in a row. And please come and join these who are making their decision to follow Christ. Stand right up here in the front. I want to encourage you, not embarrass you. Come right up here. God bless you.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

[SINGING] Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Oh, come to the altar. The Father's arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

We're clapping because this is the best part of the service. This is where new life happens. This is where new birth happens. This is where big decisions are made. And this is the biggest decision you've ever make in your life, right now.

[APPLAUSE]

It's so good to see so many of you.

[MUSIC PLAYING AND APPLAUSE]

[SINGING] Oh, come to the altar. The Father's arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Oh, come to the altar.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

I'm encouraged to see so many come. They're saying yes to Him. Jesus said, "come to me." And that's who you're coming to. We want you to know that. We're going to say a prayer with those who have come in just a moment. And I want to say, you're giving your life to Jesus-- not to a church, not to a group, not to an organization but to Jesus Christ, who died for you and rose from the dead for you and loves you.

[APPLAUSE]

You're making the right decision. But let me spin that another way, if I may. Jesus said, "if you're not for me, you are against me." So part of saying yes to Him means that there may be some who aren't saying yes to Him. And Jesus said, if you're not saying yes to me, you're saying no to me. So I don't want anybody to be left behind. I don't want anybody be left out right now.

And just think long and hard about the choices you've made in the past. And now you're being offered a chance to make the most important, ultimate choice that could determine and will determine your destiny forever. So say yes to Him because you're saying, no, I won't say yes to Him. Then you're saying no to Him. Say yes to Him.

If there's any holdouts, I was that guy. I was that holdout. I kind of waited and I waited and I waited. And kind of white knuckling it, I finally said OK. And I gave my life to Jesus watching a Billy Graham broadcast one afternoon. And when that happened, you know what I thought? I thought, I wish I had done that earlier. This is so right. This is so good. And some of you know this is right, this is good. You need to be here. You need to be up here. You come as we sing this through one more time. If I just described you, I want to see you right up here.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

[SINGING] Oh, come to the altar. The Father's arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Oh, come to the altar. The Father's arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Those of you who have walked forward-- there's a lot of you up here, which makes it just more exciting for us.

[APPLAUSE]

You know what the Bible says, and you know why it's party time for us? We're celebrating, we're clapping because Jesus said that there is joy in heaven among the angels when one sinner repents. When one person says yes to Him, turns from the old way of life and turns to Jesus, there's joy in heaven among the angels. So we think, if they're partying, we want to be part of that. We want to celebrate that. We don't make this a somber event. This is a happy event. And we're happy for you.

So I'm going to lead to you who have come forward, I'm going to lead you in a prayer right now. I'm going to ask you to say this prayer out loud after me. You say these words to Him. If you can pretend that none of us are here and it's just you and the Lord, do that. But let's pray together. Say, Lord, I give you my life.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

I know that I'm a sinner.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

Please forgive me.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

I believe in Jesus Christ.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

That He came from heaven to this earth.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

That He died on a cross.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

That He shed His blood for my sin.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

And that He rose again from the grave.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

And He is alive live right now.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

I turn from my past.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

I turn from my sin.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

I turn to Jesus as my Savior.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

Help me to follow Him as my Lord.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

In Jesus' name.

[GROUP REPEATS HIM INAUDIBLY]

Amen.

[APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]

As believers, we don't have to fear the horrors of the tribulation because we know how the story ends, with Jesus triumphing over evil. Did this message strengthen your faith in Him? Let us know. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for listening to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
1/10/2016
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What's Next?
Revelation 1
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
People have always been fascinated with the future and what's next. As we study prophecy, we can't help but wonder if current events play into an end-time scenario. The book of Revelation is John's written account of the spiritual revelation he received from God about the future return and reign of Christ. As Skip begins in Revelation 1, he encourages us to look at the future with faith and hope.
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1/17/2016
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Come Up Here
Revelation 1:19-20; Revelation 4:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
As believers, we look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed hope of eternity with Him. Unfortunately, some are put off by the idea of the rapture, because the date has been incorrectly predicted for so many years. In this message, we get a glimpse into the throne room of heaven as we anticipate the joy we'll have at the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.
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1/24/2016
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What Is Heaven Like?
Revelation 5:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
There are many preconceived ideas about what heaven is like: we might picture ourselves sitting on a fluffy white cloud playing a harp, or we see ourselves sitting on a porch or playing a round of golf. Some even think heaven sounds boring. In this message, we examine what heaven will really look like for believers and what we can expect when we get there.
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2/14/2016
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The World's Greatest Revival
Revelation 7
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
During the earth’s greatest trial and tribulation will also come its greatest opportunity for salvation. Even after the church is raptured off the earth and ensconced in heaven, there will be gospel preaching during this time of global pain. This is the flicker of hope that will be offered to the world while God pours out His wrath on it. There are three unexpected discoveries we make about the upcoming tribulation period.
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2/28/2016
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What's Next? from Jerusalem
Matthew 24:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
One of God's greatest attributes is that He knows what is going to happen before it actually happens, and His Word clearly maps the events of the future. In this message from Jerusalem, we learn why this city is the center of the world, as well as what we can expect to take place when Jesus fulfills His promise to return for the church.
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3/6/2016
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Cosmic Conflict
Revelation 12:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
There has been an invisible war between satanic forces and God’s purpose and people since time began. To fail to understand this conflict is to fail to understand both history and prophecy. Without the lens provided by Revelation 12, our vision of everything is obscured. We will never fully grasp the plan of God through the ages, the cross of Christ, the tribulation, and the future reign of Christ unless we can comprehend the cosmic conflict that is displayed in this chapter.
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3/13/2016
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Satan's Global Conflict
Revelation 12:7-17
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
"War in Heaven Brings Wrath on Earth!" That could be the headline of Revelation 12. The ongoing battle of the ages that began in heaven and has played out on earth will reach fever pitch in the coming years. If you're asking What's Next?, the answer in part lies here. The cosmic battle becomes a global battle that will be filled with both woe and worship, both fury and freedom. Let's get more insight into the motivations and actions of the archenemy of God's people.
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4/3/2016
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The Most Interesting Man in the World
Revelation 13:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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Unlike the fictional beer commercials, the most interesting man in the world is coming. Dynamic, persuasive, and a breath of fresh air, this leader’s diplomatic skills will be off the charts. On one hand, he will be everything the world has been waiting for; on the other hand, he will be its biggest nightmare. Since the number six is often the designated number of man in Scripture, let’s examine six characteristics of this most interesting coming ruler.
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4/10/2016
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The Coming Deception
Revelation 13:11-18
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
We know for sure that a ruler who will have international authority is coming to the earth. We also know that he will not be alone. There will come a religious deceiver who will aid and abet this global leader. Today, we consider the end-time teaching of the world’s fastest-growing religion to see if there is an interface with the Bible’s predictions about what’s next.
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4/17/2016
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The Return
Revelation 19:11-21
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We now come to the culmination of all redemptive history—the second coming of Jesus Christ. After history runs its sinister course, after the final period of man’s rebellion, Satan’s retaliation, and God’s judgment, the end of the world will come. But the end of this world will actually be the beginning of a new one. The event that hinges these together is the future coming of Christ to the earth. Let’s consider five aspects of His return, spoken of here and throughout Scripture.
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4/24/2016
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Heaven on Earth
Revelation 20:1-6
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Mankind long ago gave up on the idea of a future utopia. The thought of perpetual peace and undisturbed harmony became the stuff of fairy tales. But that is precisely what God promised He will bring to this earth one day. Though Satan has exercised a temporary authority over God’s creation for several millennia, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus will return to rule for a thousand years. And it won’t just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His followers. This will be a literal dominion over a renewed earth. Let’s explore this thousand-year phase of your eternal future.
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5/22/2016
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What's Next...for Everyone!
Revelation 20:4-7; Revelation 20:11-15
Skip Heitzig
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and shine!" It took a few times, but I eventually got up out of bed. Jesus too will call everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let's consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all live, we will all die, and we will all rise again to live forever.... But where and how?
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6/5/2016
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Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home
Revelation 21-22
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Through the years, I have observed that most people (even Christians) have ideas about what heaven will be like that are vastly different from how Scripture describes heaven. In this series, we have followed the chronological flow of the book of Revelation from the rapture through the tribulation, from the second coming to the millennial kingdom. We turn now to what the Bible describes as the final phase of heaven—the eternal state. Here are a few things that might further surprise you about your future home:
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There are 13 additional messages in this series.