I was looking over some scriptures and found myself amazed once again at how much is said in the Bible about what is happening today, right before our eyes. One thing I need to say once again as we look into what the Bible has to say about these days is that we must never forget that a person needs to be very careful about reading a prophetic scripture and then making a quick judgment about what it is saying. As I’ve pointed out before, prophetic scriptures are almost always layered. They usually cover more than one period of time. Some scriptures speaking of the events happening just prior to the return of Jesus, are also fulfilled to a smaller degree, earlier in history. A good example of this is with the description given of the antichrist going back on his covenant with the Jewish people and then defiling their rebuilt temple by not only taking it over, but then slaughtering a pig on the altar. This event happened once before in history. That very thing was done by Antiochus Epiphanes, one of the most brutal and despicable rulers the Jews had before Jerusalem was destroyed in the first century AD.
It is also good to keep in mind that there was not one prophet that got the entire revelation of everything that was going to come about in the future. God gave different individuals pieces of information, quite often things that they themselves didn’t even understand. Yet today we find these things being fulfilled in intricate detail—just as God spoke them through the prophets thousands of years ago. A person can’t say that they are a follower of the prophecies of Isaiah and not Jeremiah or Ezekiel. It is also a huge mistake to underestimate the importance of even the smallest books of what is commonly referred to as the “minor” prophets. A good example would be the little book of Obadiah. There is a great deal of information in this very short, one chapter book which we are about to see fulfilled any day now, and we can be assured that no detail will go unfilled.
With all this in mind, we read a passage like Matthew 24 where Jesus was explaining to his disciples what would be happening in the future, and we think that everything will happen all of a sudden. I believe that God does many things quite suddenly, but yet most prophecy is gradually fulfilled as each little detail comes together. It’s the same with the events lined out in Revelation 6, which is where the seven Seals of Judgment are opened and the events released for fulfillment. I have believed for some time now that the four horsemen of the apocalypse and their riders have been unleashed on the earth one at a time in the last handful of years. I know that most believe that the opening of the first seal is the actual beginning salvo of the Great Tribulation. It may very well be, but I’m not so sure anymore. Through this series, I will share with you, the reader, why I feel this way. It doesn’t affect my salvation experience with God either way, nor will it yours if you happen to agree or not. It just happens to appear that this is what has happened, and it is making more sense all the time. I now have run across other Bible teachers, who are a whole lot better known for their knowledge and understanding of the Word of God than I, that feel the same.
I have shared some of this in an earlier post, and maybe some of you may have even been horrified that I would think such things, but I would like to give you a quick run-down of what I believe has transpired so far along that line.
- The rider on the white horse is said to be carrying a bow. It’s interesting that there are no arrows. This rider is however going about the earth “conquering”. I believe that the initial conquering going on is a battle for the minds and hearts of humans. I’m not sure that I am ready to say that this rider started his run in the 60’s, but society changed forever with the cultural revolution that hit the world as a result of the latter part of that decade. I am old enough to have watched how this played out. Having lived in and around the San Francisco area for nearly a decade at the end of the “Haight / Ashbury” days, I was heavily involved with the generation of people that was targeted by this revolution. This rider will of course also soon begin looking to conquer militarily, but not until it is time for him to show himself to the world for who he really is.
- The red horse and rider have to do with war. I believe that this horse and rider began their ride in earnest within the first three or four years of the turn of the 21st century. Since that time the world situation has ratcheted up more and more. There are ethnic wars on every continent. There are also wars brewing between nations and groups of nations. Class warfare is becoming worse and worse, even in the west. The threat level is becoming more and more critical as each day begins. The whole world is primed for war today, and it will most likely start in the Middle East. When it does, it will for the most part continue until the return of Christ. When the Mideast war begins, a line will have been crossed like never before. The forces of hell have their influence in what is building up.
- The black horse and rider have to do with the economy. The world economy took a huge hit right near the end of 2008, but this was only a precursor of what is threatening to happen with a fury anytime now. Europe is coming apart at the seams, economically, and the US cannot escape the effects of this when it happens. It will be a world-wide event that will help pave the way for the anti-christ to offer his solution, which will give him the control he is after. This man is already in the system somewhere, probably as a 2nd tier leader somewhere. He will easily be pushed to the top when everything collapses and he seems to have the solutions that no one else seems to have. It is not a question of if anymore, but rather when.
- The pale horse and rider represent pestilence, disease, famine, and death—lots of it, and with hell following close behind. I’m not so sure that this horse and rider didn’t make their appearance on international television in Cairo during the demonstrations there before Mubarak was deposed. Millions of people caught the news clip that showed this phantom horse and rider on the ground first, but then then slowly lifting off and riding up out of sight—right in front of all the cameras! One other unusual statement made in this passage about the pale horse and rider is that people will also die due to mass attacks of animals. Nature will go berserk, like never before in history.
After introducing the horsemen of the apocalypse, the Bible tells us that ¼ of the world’s population will die as a result of what these four accomplish after the fuse is lit. Not a time when I would like to be on this earth! How about you? And that is only the beginning!
Today, we are experiencing more than just an uptick of everything that Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24. One thing that has a tendency to fool people is when there is a lull in the action. These events will be more erratic before the actual Tribulation than after it starts in earnest. Presently on this date, December 18, 2011, there seems to be somewhat of one of those lulls, although I’m not so sure that anyone in the Mideast would think so. Nor would anyone around any of the dozens of volcanoes that are becoming more and more active. It is interesting to note that Jesus warned people of being deceived; in fact He said that many would in fact be deceived. He also said there would be wars and rumors of wars, but we shouldn’t be alarmed because these things must come about. He mentions nation rising up against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and famines and earthquakes in various places but this is only the beginning of sorrows, and the end is not yet.
The storm is already on its way though. We can see the blackening of the skies on the horizon. Ever since the Jewish people were re-established in their ancient homeland, God’s clock began ticking again and gradually things have been escalating. They will continue to do so until the climax is reached. It’s sad that anyone bringing this subject up is labeled a “prophet of doom”. Well, doom is on its way! We just need to make sure that we give the right details of what the doom is, and why it is coming. Those of us that are Christians also need to know what the answer is for mankind, and then be willing to share this good news with anyone they possibly can while there is still time. The door of the ark is already slowly beginning to close…but there is yet a very large harvest to be seen before the Tribulation even begins, and I believe that is the main reason why the church is still here. As we go further into this study, this will make more and more sense.
Earlier in this article I gave a short description of how it appears to me that the work of the four horsemen of the apocalypse is unfolding. It only makes sense to me that the wars and rumors of wars along with everything else in the description that Jesus gave his disciples is before the actual Tribulation or “Day of the Lord” begins. We know that the antichrist shows up on the scene during a time of major war and economic collapse, among other things.
This brings me to another thought that I am going to throw into the mix that may be foreign to you. I will be referring back to it off and on as I show the reasons for my belief in the Rapture of the True Church before the actual Great Tribulation begins. From what I find in all the scriptures that describe the days we are in and those still coming, I find there appears to be a space of time between the Rapture and the actual beginning of the Tribulation. That may seem off the wall to you, but once again, I have run across some other Bible scholars who have found this as well. For those of you that find the Pre-Tribulation Rapture hard to swallow, this may only add to your difficulties in reading this series of posts, but please hear me out all the way through. It is impossible to bring everything out that needs to be shown in the Scriptures without it taking a number of articles to cover at least cover the basics, so please bear with me.
There are some things that happen that seem to require a space between the actual “harpazo” or “catching away” of the Church and the actual start of the Great Tribulation. One of these has to do with the build-up of the antichrist’s status within the world’s system. Some might say that when it is time, he just shows up, but I don’t believe so. We know that he becomes possessed of the devil at the half-way point of the 7 year Tribulation. He is however not so in the first 42 months—not that he doesn’t have some substantial backing from the powers of hell. I also have some reason to believe that he is not 100% human, but that is another whole subject, and for another time.
There is more: The prophet Elijah does not appear on the scene right at the beginning of the 7 year period. Most people have always assumed this. Elijah is accompanied by another Biblical man, most likely Moses, although some feel it is the pre-flood prophet Enoch. Whichever the second man may be, they are both sent to plague the antichrist for 1,260 days, which is at the start of the actual Apocalypse. Revelation 11: 3-6 says, “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and have power over waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” It appears that Elijah is not revealed until the Church has been removed from the earth.
Once again, we have always assumed that the Apocalypse begins at the very moment that the Church has been removed. That can’t be the case. Malachi has the last prophecy of the Old Testament in it before the New Testament, and it is located in the fourth chapter. Both the Tribulation and Second Coming of Christ are mentioned in it. I have spent quite some time studying this short little book and have found it to be quite interesting to pore over. Both Moses and Elijah are also mentioned in the fourth chapter. Notice what is said about Elijah: “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.” (verse 5) This is not referring to John the Baptist in this passage.
Elijah is said to bring the fathers and children together. There seems to be a healing done of some kind that has not been present for a very long time with the Jewish people. There is quite a rift between the extreme orthodox Jews and the rest of the population. There is a huge cavern between those of the newly founded Sanhedrin and the agnostics who comprise a large percentage of the Jewish population. Someone of great authority would be needed to accomplish something like this. This starts before the Day of the LORD. The religious members of the Jewish nation do expect Elijah though. They traditionally leave a symbolic place for him at Passover time and even pour the traditional cup of wine. Someone is always sent to the door to see if he may be standing outside. I won’t go into all of the traditional rituals done that have to do with this very expectation, but it is fascinating, as well as quite exciting because this is a real event that is due anytime now.
What is quite often missed is the fact that this reconciliation brought about by Elijah is a spiritual renewal and redemption of God’s chosen people. This is of course not ignoring the fact that the coming of Elijah the prophet is a harbinger of the wrath of God right behind his showing up in Israel.
In order to see the sequence as it apparently really is, one needs to see that the world is already in the grip of incredible events, already breaking all historical records. Global horrors are already common events, and they started before the Tribulation. Here is what the scriptures say:
- “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
- “And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
- “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
- The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.
- And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:28-32)
So, we find how the Old Testament prophet Joel saw things in the days directly ahead. A huge pouring out of the Spirit of God happens which wakes a whole lot of people, at the same time that major, colossal geophysical events are happening—before the Tribulation officially begins. What would constitute the “blood and fire,” with “pillars of smoke” at this pre-tribulation time? It could very well be the exploding of the dozens of volcanoes that have come alive again in the last handful of years. It could also be nuclear fallout from all of the chaos that the planet is being overrun with. The Mideast madness will involve weapons of mass destruction. The Bible describes it in pretty plain terms. The destruction of Damascus is one example. It is turned into a heap of rubble, along with some other cities as well. This is before the Tribulation as well.
Allow me to point you to another Scripture. It is found in the book of Acts in the New Testament, and is actually part of Peter’s first sermon. Here are some of the main points:
- “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
- “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
- “And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my spirit; and they shall prophesy:
- “And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
- “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Acts 2:16-21)
I purposely put both Joel’s original prophesy to type, as well as Peter’s usage of it in his sermon. Peter was showing the beginning of the Church Age with this being a sign of the “early rains”, and the culmination of the Church Age with these signs. Some of these things happened at Pentecost, and the rest will be fulfilled at the huge harvest gathered as the world comes apart at the seams. The teaching of the early and latter rains is a legitimate teaching. If this subject were not so very long already, I would give you a quick synopsis of this, but suffice it to say that the Jewish farmers depended on both the early rains which started the harvest season, as well as the latter rains that brought in the bountiful abundance of what was to complete God’s harvest as He designed it.
Let’s not forget all that is going on at this time. The world is exploding into mass chaos and carnage. At the same time, Elijah shows up and begins to do what God sent him to do, both with the restoration of people with the Almighty God as well as getting himself ready to confront the antichrist when the time comes. At the same time, there is a great falling away. For some years now there has been a separation between peoples. There are those that are joining a religious system that will join all of the religions of the world into one conglomerate. At the same time there is a huge movement among people that are true followers of Jesus Christ, the One that sacrificed Himself on the cross 2,000 years ago so that we might have the choice of life—if we take it. That divide is getting wider every day. Things will never go back to the way they were anymore. We have crossed into a time like none other, folks. We have to see this!
To Be Continued in Part 5