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The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The First Six Seals

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 16, 2021 3:00 am

The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The First Six Seals

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 16, 2021 3:00 am

The Bible warns against false prophets – it calls them wolves in sheep’s clothing. But a false Messiah? The warnings are even more ominous. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us consider the rise of the Antichrist – the one who comes in place of Christ. It reinforces the need to make sure our friends and loved ones know the Lord. If they don’t, be sure to tell them about SoCal Harvest coming October 3rd, where Pastor Greg will present the Gospel. Get details at harvest.org.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. We all long for global peace. Here comes a man he'll do what no other president, prime minister, king, or world leader has ever done. He'll bring global peace. It was seen this man can bring the world together. But Pastor Greg Laurie says, don't be fooled. The Antichrist has a plan to tear the world apart.

He'll be hailed as the greatest peacemaker that ever lived. The Bible says, through peace, he will deceive many. The Bible warns against false prophets. It calls them wolves in sheep's clothing.

But a false Messiah? The warnings are even more ominous. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us consider the rise of the Antichrist, the one who comes in place of Christ. It reinforces the need to make sure our friends and loved ones know the Lord. If they don't, be sure to tell them about SoCal Harvest, coming October 3rd, where Pastor Greg will present the gospel.

Get details at harvest.org. All right, well, let's all grab our Bibles. We're going through the book of Revelation together. And the title of my message is The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

That's pretty ominous sounding, isn't it? But that's where we're going to be talking about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Revelation 6 verse 1. Now notice this is all happening after these things. That's how Revelation 4 began. After these things.

After what things? After the things of the church. We looked at the words of Jesus and the seven love letters of Christ to His church in Revelation chapters 2 to 3. When we come to chapter 4, now we're in heaven.

And also in chapter 5. So this is all happening after the church is removed. This is important because the first horseman of the apocalypse is none other than the antichrist.

This is antichrist inaugurating the tribulation period. Now some get confused. Think maybe this is a reference to Jesus Christ because he rides a white horse. And we know the good guy always rides a white horse, right?

In the old westerns the good guy had the white hat. Well it's true that Jesus comes on a white horse. But this rider is not the same as the description of Christ in Revelation 19. In Revelation 19 which is describing Jesus returning it says, I saw heaven open and before me was a white horse whose rider is called faithful and true with justice he judges and wages war and on his head are many crowns. So here comes Jesus on air horse one returning to planet earth.

This is different what we're reading about here in Revelation 6. This is not Jesus Christ. This is antichrist masquerading as the Messiah. Antichrist wears a crown.

In contrast Jesus wears many crowns. Remember Jesus said one of the signs of the last days will be many will come in my name saying I am Christ. So here is antichrist. Now the prefix anti can be translated instead of as well as against. So we might ask the question is antichrist his coming world leader against Christ or is he offering himself instead of Christ.

Answer both. And if you contrast the white horse and rider in Revelation 19 with the rider here in Revelation 6 there's a lot of important differences. The antichrist in what we just read here carries a bow without arrows. Jesus Christ has a mighty sword. Antichrist wears a victor's crown singular.

Jesus Christ wears many crowns. Antichrist initiates war. Jesus comes with his armies at the battle of Armageddon and ends war. Antichrist inaugurates the great tribulation period. Jesus Christ ends the great tribulation period.

Now just as mysterious as the word apocalypse is the word antichrist. Who is this person? Is it an actual human being?

Answer yes. He has many aliases. In the Bible he is called the man of sin, the son of perdition, the little horn, the wicked one, the prince who is to come, the one who makes desolate, and of course the beast. But we pretty much know him as the antichrist. He's not who you may expect. He's going to be suave.

He's going to be intelligent, engaging, magnetic, and charismatic. But it's all a mask hiding who he really is. The most evil man who ever lived. If Satan were to have a son this is him. The only man that could even compare to the antichrist would be Judas Iscariot.

The Bible even tells us that Satan entered Judas' heart. But there are over 100 passages in the Bible that detail the origin, nationality, career, character, kingdom, and the final doom of the antichrist. Now sometimes the question is asked is the antichrist alive right now? No one can say with any certainty. In a Newsweek poll that was done 19 percent of Americans said they believe antichrist is on earth right now.

In a US News and World Report article 49 percent of Americans said they'll believe that there will be an antichrist sometime in the future. But we don't know. We don't know if he's alive now.

But let me say this. He could be. We know that when he emerges on the scene he'll come at economically hard times. He'll do what no other president, prime minister, king, or world leader has ever done. He'll bring economic stability and global peace. He'll be hailed as the greatest peacemaker that ever lived. And this is going to be interesting because the Bible says in Daniel 8 25 through peace he will deceive many. We all long for global peace. We want there to be no war. Here comes a man inaugurating the tribulation period with peaceful solutions.

With economic solutions. We don't even know how evil he is until a little bit later in the tribulation period. By the way I think it's completely futile and pointless to try to figure out who the antichrist is. Because if you figure it out to the antichrist is that means you miss the rapture.

So don't waste your time. As I've said before don't spend your time looking for antichrist. Spend your time looking for Jesus Christ. Because the Bible says when you see these things begin to happen look up for your redemption is drawing near. So notice also it says in verse 2 his crown is given to him. This reminds us that even this evil man needs permission from God to do his evil work. Remember in the book of Job how the angels came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan was among them. Remember Satan's a fallen angel. And God was bragging on Job saying have you considered my servant Job a perfect and upright man.

One that fears God and shuns evil and Satan pushes back. He says now why do you think Job fears you? He fears you because you blessed him. And in effect he says let me have a little time with him.

Let me have access into his life. And God gives him a limited permission in the life of Job and a series of calamities befall him. But just remember the devil always has to ask permission.

And God will not let you be tested above which you are able. Now we come to horse number two. We can call him the war horse. Revelation 6 3. 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 now antichrist is showing his true colors.

First he comes off like a good guy. Riding on a white horse. Wearing a crown. Bringing peace. But now we see his real agenda.

A red horse. Fiery red would be a literal translation. Remember later in Revelation 12 3 we read a description of Satan as being a great fiery red dragon. And that reminds us that Satan is behind the wars and struggles on this planet. Jesus said of Satan he comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

But again notice the difference between Jesus Christ and antichrist. At the coming of Jesus Christ we have peace on earth. That was the announcement to the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night.

Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth among men with whom God is well pleased. But antichrist comes along to take peace from the earth. We read that he has a sword. And the Greek word here for sword speaks of the short stabbing sword that a Roman soldier would use in close combat.

It was also used as a weapon by assassins. It speaks of something that is sudden and unexpected. Again he comes first as a man of peace.

But actually he's a man of war. And now he's going to bring the misery and havoc that is part of his plan. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Well the title of today's study from Pastor Greg is The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. We've looked at the first two recorded in Revelation 6 and now Pastor Greg continues.

Following the white horse and the red horse we have the pale horse and the black horse. Death plagues and misery follows. This is the great tribulation period.

The first half of it, the first three and a half years begin peacefully. The second half of it antichrist pursues his agenda and the judgment of God ultimately falls on the planet. By the way God takes no pleasure in bringing judgment. And that's why even during the tribulation period the Lord gives opportunity for people to repent. We read that he sends his angel in the heavens preaching the everlasting gospel and warning people to not take the mark of the beast. That's why it's so crazy when people get hung up thinking oh if I take the vaccine for COVID-19 is that the mark of the beast? No it isn't. Because when the beast is here, when antichrist is revealed you're gonna know it. You're gonna know he's that coming world leader. And if you're a Christian you shouldn't be around to know it anyway.

And I'll tell you why I believe that in just a moment. So this is not something we have to be worried about. But the angels are telling us not to take in the mark of the beast and proclaiming the gospel. And I call this an angelic mop-up operation. The angels will reach the ones we missed flying through the heavens proclaiming the gospel. We also read of two powerful witnesses that will be raised up in the tribulation period.

They'll perform miracles calling fire down from heaven stopping the rain. Some believe these two witnesses may be Moses and Elijah. Then we read of another 144,000 people who are called by God to preach the gospel. We know that these are Jewish people. No they're not Jehovah's Witnesses.

It's very clear that they're from the 12 tribes of Israel. So these are Jewish people that have embraced Jesus as their messiah. So it's like 144,000 kosher billy grams proclaiming the gospel. So you combine that with the angelic message in the heavens.

You combine that with a witness of the two prophets that we'll get into later. And you realize God is going out of His way. God is bending over backwards to help people to repent of their sin so they don't have to face this judgment. The Lord says I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked. That's why He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sin. Antichrist.

Why has he not been revealed yet? The only thing holding him back is the presence of the church on the earth. Here's a very important verse. 2 Thessalonians 2 7 says, the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then the lawless one will be revealed. That's Antichrist. Whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming.

Who is the one that is now restraining? Sometimes people say well it's the Holy Spirit who's restraining. And when the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth then Antichrist will be revealed. But the Holy Spirit is not going to be removed from the earth. And the reason for that is people are coming to Christ during the tribulation period. In fact some of the greatest spiritual awakenings and revivals are going to happen during the tribulation period. And the Bible is clear in pointing out that no one can come to Christ unless the Holy Spirit draws him.

Right? So it's not the Holy Spirit that's taken from the earth. It's the Holy Spirit working through the church. He who now restrains speaks of the Spirit working through you and me.

Listen to this. The reason things aren't worse right now is because believers. Followers of Jesus are the restraining force on the planet keeping things at bay. I mean imagine how bad it will get when we're caught up suddenly and thousands even millions of Christians disappear.

How all hell could break loose. No more restraints. No more people pushing back. No more people protesting it. We can just do whatever we want.

None believers will think and they will. So what are we to do in the light of this teaching of the imminent return of the Lord? Hey Jesus told us we're to be both salt and light in our world. Salt and light. He says you're the salt of the earth.

You're the light of the world. So what does that mean? Well salt back in the first century was used as a preservative. They didn't have refrigerators like we have today so they would rub salt in their meat and it would it would last longer. Our modern equivalent would be something like beef jerky right?

So we're a restraining force. You know we go and we permeate and we make a difference but another thing that salt does is it stimulates thirst. I can't remember the last time I went to a movie but I remember ordering popcorn and you know they have different sizes. A little size and then a bigger size and then one that's like the size of a trash can or something and they'll give you free refill.

So you're motivated to get that one because it's a better deal. And then they salt it right? And then you go back and say can I get a little cup of water?

I'm sorry we're not allowed to give the cups out and this is how I remember it. But anyway salt stimulates thirst right? And I think when you're walking with Jesus as you ought to you will stimulate in others a thirst for God. When they're around you they'll see something in you that they want. Why is it that stolen food always tastes better?

You ever notice that? You're in a restaurant somebody orders a burger and fries and you say I'll just have a salad you know and you're eating your little salad. And then you say can I have one of your fries and they say yes. And then that fright turns out to be the greatest french fry you've ever eaten in your life.

There's something about watching someone enjoy a meal that makes you want to have the same meal. And there's something about watching a Christian walk with God that makes a non-believer say I want what you have. Case in point remember when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for preaching the gospel? Their backs were ripped open with a Roman whip.

Their legs were fastened in stocks in a dungeon. And we read at midnight Paul and Silas began to sing praises to God. Not long after that an earthquake came and the Roman jailer thought he was in big trouble because all of his prisoners would escape but they didn't run away. And Paul said we're still here don't harm yourself. And that man that hardened Roman jailer said sirs what must I do to be saved?

He saw something in Paul and Silas that he wanted so badly. And I just pray that you and I could be like that. We could be salt in our culture. We could be light in our culture and draw people to Christ. Let me address a question I raised last time and I'll close with this. When is the rapture?

No one knows the day of the hour. But here's an interesting verse. Second Peter 3 9 says the Lord isn't really being slow about his promise as some people think.

No he's being patient for your sake because he doesn't want anyone to perish and he wants everyone to repent. You know I came to Christ in 1970 and we were talking a lot about the Lord's return. And we were saying Lord even so come.

And we were hoping he would return in the 70s and of course in the 80s and 90s and to the present day. But aren't you glad God didn't answer our prayer back in the 70s? Because think of how many people have come to Christ since then. Why has Jesus not yet come? Because he doesn't want any to perish but he wants all to come to repentance. What that means is he's waiting on you.

He's waiting on you to come to him. To believe in him. Because Jesus Christ the Lamb of God died on the cross for your sin.

He rose again from the dead and now he stands at the door of your life and he knocks and if you hear his voice and open the door he'll come in. Listen if you reject the offer of Jesus Christ to forgive you you will face a certain judgment in a place called hell. And the last thing Jesus wants is for anyone made in the image of God to spend eternity in this place that was designed not for people but for the devil and his angels. He wants you to be forgiven.

He wants you to join him in heaven. Don't you want to go to heaven? Don't you want to be ready for this event we've been talking about called the rapture of the church? Because if you're not a believer in Jesus Christ listen you'll be left to face the great tribulation period and it's going to be hell on earth. You do not want to be here when this happens.

God has a far greater plan for your life but he won't force it. Coming back to that statement of Jesus where he says he stands at the door knocks. He's polite.

He's a good gentleman. Hey could I come in? I would really love to come in and have a relationship with you. I would really love to forgive you. I would really love to bring you peace and joy and purpose in life.

Why would you say no to that? You can have your sin forgiven and you can enter into a relationship with God right now. I'm going to pray a simple prayer and I'm going to ask that you would pray this prayer after me. You can pray it out loud if you like. You can pray it quietly in your heart but God will hear this prayer and God will and God will answer it. Just pray these words after me. Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner but I know that you are the savior. I turn from that sin now. I repent of it and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie with those making a decision for the Lord today. And if you've just prayed that prayer with Pastor Greg and have meant those words sincerely, we want to welcome you into the family of God and we'd like to help you get started living the life of faith. Let us send you something we call our New Believer's Growth Packet.

It'll answer many of the questions you might have and help you build a strong foundation for your faith. So ask for the New Believer's Growth Packet as you write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime around the clock.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org and click the words Know God. And when you connect with us, let us know how you're enjoying this new series in Revelation. You know, Pastor Greg, we hear so many terms that apply to Bible prophecy—the mark of the beast, the millennium, the great tribulation—and our understanding might be a little hazy about what those terms mean and in what order they come. Could you maybe give us a little flyover of God's end times plan? Yes, I'd be happy to, but I need some trumpets and echo and then I'll do it. So are you ready?

I'm ready. A flyover of the book of Revelation. Okay, so this is my understanding of how all these events fit together. The next event on the prophetic calendar is the rapture of the church. That's when the Lord comes in a moment in the twinkling of an eye and we're caught up in the air to meet him. It's also when we're reunited with loved ones who have preceded us to glory. So we're caught up to heaven. On the heels of that, this mysterious character called the Antichrist is revealed. That inaugurates what is called the great tribulation period that lasts for seven years. Interestingly, the Antichrist comes initially as a good guy.

I'll put that in quotes. A peacemaker. But in reality, he's a troublemaker. He rebuilds a temple for the Jewish people, but he erects an image of himself and demands that people worship him. This marks a halfway point of the tribulation period and this event is called the abomination of desolation. So the first part of the tribulation is the peaceful reign of Antichrist. The second part of the tribulation is where he unleashes his fury against Jewish people, against Christians, and God ultimately brings his judgment upon the Antichrist. In the tribulation period, we have a group called the 144,000.

These are Jewish people who have put their faith in Jesus as their Messiah and they travel around the world proclaiming the good news. Okay, so everything culminates to what the Bible calls the battle of Armageddon. And then Christ returns again in the second coming. This inaugurates the 1,000 year reign of Christ, which is called the millennium. Then heaven and earth becomes one. The new Jerusalem comes down from heaven to this planet fulfilling the prayer of Jesus when he said, thy kingdom come that will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

So that's a flyover of end times events. And by the way, we've put this all on this really cool bookmark that comes with our brand new book called Revelation a Book of Promises. And we want to put this book in your hands because I've written it to help you to understand how this great book of the Bible applies to you.

The very title says it all. Revelation means unveiling. And God's desire is not to conceal but to reveal.

He wants us to understand these things. And so I want to help you with that. So for your gift of any size, we'll send you your own copy of this brand new book from Harvest Ministries that I've written simply called Revelation a Book of Promises.

Yeah, that's right. And we'll be glad to send a copy your way as soon as we hear from you. Your donation is an investment in changed lives. Your investment helps bring the gospel through our evangelistic harvest crusades such as SoCal Harvest coming up October 3rd.

So thank you so much for your generosity. You can write us today at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24-hour phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org. And again, the title of Pastor Greg's new book, Revelation a Book of Promises. And please be in prayer for our upcoming SoCal Harvest at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, October 3rd. Great music and a powerful message from Pastor Greg.

Get all the details and find out how you can be involved by going to harvest.org slash SoCal. Next time, Pastor Greg addresses an interesting question. Do those in heaven know what's going on here on earth? It's a question many ask, especially those who have loved ones there waiting for them.

Well, some answers next time. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-22 16:25:00 / 2023-08-22 16:35:22 / 10

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