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The Four Horsemen

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
May 12, 2019 12:00 pm

The Four Horsemen

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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Have your Bibles with you, terrific you would to Revelation chapter 6 will look at verses one through eight Revelation chapter 6 verses one through eight.

Now watch when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder come in. I looked, and behold a white horse and his rider had a bow and a crown was given to him and he came out conquering and to conquer. When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say come and out came another horse bright red driver was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another. He was given a great sword. When he opened the third seal, I heard the living creature say come and I looked, and behold a black horse and his rider had a pair of scales in his hand and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying a quart of wheat for a denarius, and 3 quarts of barley for denarius and do not harm the oil and wine. When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say come in, I looked, and behold a pale horse and its rider's name was death, and Hades followed him.

They were given authority over 1/4 of the earth, to kill with sword, with famine, with pestilence, and by wild beasts of the earth spray heavenly father.

What a a difficult passage that we have to deal with today. As we look at God's judgment upon this earth. I pray heavenly father. That is, we see this today that we would be drawn to our Savior that heavenly father, we would realize the depth and hatred that God hates sin, and the father we might develop that same type of hatred and heavenly father, we would ask today.

As we look at this passage that you help us that our theology and our eschatology would be put together in such a way is is Lord, that we would understand that the church is going to go through difficult times that Lord you have never said that the Christian life would be easy but Lord you have promised us in eternity with you is going to be so glorious at Lord, we will look back on these days and all will be able to do was to praise you got, and directors through this passage today. May Jesus be uplifted through it made this congregation beatified by and is in Jesus holy and precious name we pray. Amen. You may be seated. Francis Ford Coppola directed a very unnerving movie several years ago about the Vietnam War. He gave its title from the book of Revelation. He called it.

Apocalypse now. He said that the that the Vietnam War was a crazed made him a crazed mayhem where objections were confused and morality was was impossible was one scene in the movie where an officer comes running into a battle and that they are shells exploding everywhere. There are machine-gun tracers in the air. The soldiers have these wide-eyed desperate looks on their faces and the officer stands there and screams who's in charge here and nobody steps up. Nobody says a word and that was Coppola's point in the field.

This is a scene of hail where there is no direction. There is no purpose, and there is no solution that's an uneasy easy feeling and it something when we don't like very much think I feel I get when I watch the news at night and I hear some of our our our politicians the crazy things that are coming out of their miles. When I hear congressmen and governors who were saying that it's all right for a lady to have an abortion all the way up to birth and if the baby happens to Leo than just cannot push it to the side to ignore until the baby dies no concern for the sanctity of life, no concern for the for the sixth commandment, none whatsoever. And then when some terrain students start shooting spree killing people in the school. We wonder why is that happening. We tell you what's happening in the society is thumped its nose at God's commands. When a society has has laughed at the sanctity of life. Why would we not expect a young student who is been taught by that culture that human life is absolutely meaningless. Why would we not expect that he might go on a killing spree three weeks ago, the Atty. Gen. of Dallas Texas introduced the law into their city government that stated if a person was living below the poverty line that if he went out and stole something that was food or clothing or medicine and it was that was under $750 that they would not charge.

It is a crime if they would just let it go. In other words, he was legitimate legitimate tithing species stealing he was saying it's okay if you want to break the eighth commandment, it's okay because you're under the poverty level and that is not fair that other people have money that you don't when you talk about just inviting chaos. We see riots break out because of political disagreements today.

I just wonder how long is it going to be before this whole nation is just an absolute anarchy. The thing that is most frightening is the increasing animosity and absolute hatred toward Christ and his followers, but it's true it's it's weird. The feeling is very unsettling and we become frightened and then not only because we become frightened because we become frightened because were not used to that barbaric kind of behavior and we cry out who's in charge here the book of Revelation has the answer force in Revelation chapter 4 in Revelation chapter 5 we saw that there is one in charge and we saw exactly who it is. It is Jesus Christ the line of the tribe of Judah. It is the line. It is the Lamb that was slain, it is the one who had authority to go only one who was worthy to go and take the scroll from the father's hand and he took that scroll in his hand. That's probably represented. It was a scroll of destiny and it was the title deed of this world and Jesus took it, and when he did he was giving us a message and what was that message. The message is this Jesus not only knows what's coming.

Jesus is in control of what's coming in Revelation 6. The opening of the seals unleashing great is the unleashing of great tribulation on this earth. GK Bill said it this way. Revelation chapter 6 verses one through eight is intended to show that Christ rules over such an apparently chaotic world and that suffering does not occur indiscriminately or by chance while the four horsemen bring roiling death. They do not bring dismay to those who are trusting in Christ. Here in Revelation chapter 6 Jesus opens the seals and for riders on four different colored horses are unleashed upon this earth.

This shows us that Jesus Christ is not just sovereign over those who know him and love him but he is sovereign even over all the dangerous forces that are being unleashed on this earth. What is that tell us, tells us the yes yes there will be tribulation, but Jesus Christ is still on the throne and there is hope for us.

Here's where it gets sticky. If you're dispensational in your theology you believe that Jesus is gonna rapture the church out. He's gonna take us to heaven before a time of great tribulation and that's what you believe is a dispensational list. I believe that, and I taught that as a young pastor for a number of years and as I begin to study eschatology.

I begin to see all kind of holes in that I begin to realize its danger. I know there are a lot of godly men that teach this today. I have great respect for them and I great love for them, but I believe that they are dead wrong and what they are teaching and I believe it is doing irreparable damage to the church of Jesus Christ. This teaching of a two-part second coming of Christ where Jesus would rapture the church out there would be a seven year period of tribulation and then Jesus would come back with us withing to put a end of that tribulation is not scriptural, but this is a theory that did not come about in history until about 1850. In other words, for the first 1850 years of church history. No one believed in a two-part second coming is a Doug, what is it really matter. Here's what it matters. We have preachers all over the nation today that are teaching their people not to worry about persecution not to worry about tribulation is a work to be rapture doubt were not. You have to deal with it so there's no need to worry about it. So we have a church in general across this nation. The day that is not prepared for what is coming. You may save you have some Scripture to back that up will go with me if you would to second Thessalonians chapter 2 verses one through three, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ are being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed either by spirit or spoken word or letter seeming to be from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is come let no one deceive you in any way for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.

In verse one Paul speaks of the coming of the Lord's actual coming to this earth and are being gathered together up to heaven, he uses that in the same context as one event not to events that are separated by seven years but one event and he says this will not happen until there is first of all, the rebellion method record apostasy. You, as so a word, it makes the falling away. I think rebellion is a good word there because that's exactly what's going to take place unless the rebellion takes place and in the. The man of lawlessness is revealed, but it's a dispensational essay is that all that's going to happen during the seven year period of tribulation and the church is going to be gone and were not.

You have to deal with that at all. This passage says that's not true that's not true. The rapture of the church in the second coming of the church take place almost simultaneously, we will be taken to meet the Lord in the air and immediately come back with him to put an end to the great tribulation, not at the beginning of the great tribulation.

I said all that to say this, we are studying the book of Revelation for a purpose and that is to put steel in our backbone to put joy in our heart and to keep us from discouragement and and disappointment folks. Jesus is still on the throne and he will never leave us nor forsake us three questions that I want to ask as we deal with these eight verses today. Question one. What should we understand about these four horsemen who commit verse one again. Now watch when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals not heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder come now pocket licked it literature sure that's what the book of Revelation is can be very tricky because there's a lot of symbolism there and can be very easy to take those symbols and use them to me whatever you want them to mean your picture theology or your eschatology is why think it's important to interpret Scripture with Scripture if you go to Zechariah chapter 1 is Zechariah chapter 6 you'll see where job it is is connecting what Jesus is telling him with an Old Testament passage and in Zechariah chapter 1 Zechariah chapter 6 there are these four horsemen that are used to patrol is God's henchmen took to patrol the earth. There are these four chariots and they are drawn by four horses that mirror the very same colors that the horses are the horses we see in Revelation chapter 6, but this is not by coincidence, both the horsemen in Zechariah and the horsemen in Revelation chapter 6 they go into the four corners of the earth to impose God's will on his enemies only go back to the Olivet discourse Olivet discourse was imminent that Jesus preached we see at Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke chapter 21. Go back to Matthew 24 in Matthew chapter 24, the disciples of come up to Jesus with the question Lord. It is a sign of your coming and what is the when will we know about the coming of the end is to question their asking when we read this. Matthew 24 verses three through 14 as he sat on the Mount of olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, tell us, when will these things be and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age. And Jesus answered them see that no one lead you astray for many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, they will lead many astray you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not all alarmed for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation. They will put you to death and you and you will be hated by all nations for my namesake, folks. We believe that's gonna take place right before Christ comes back.

Let me taste something. It was taken place in an and Peter and John and Paul's day just as well. That's what Jesus is saying, and then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another and many false prophets will arise and lead many astray because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold, but the one who endures to the end will be saved. The gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. This is helpful in figuring out the timing of Revelation chapter 6.

It is very helpful.

Many would say that Jesus and the Olivet discourse was just talking about that very short period of time immediately preceding his second coming. I believe that's not right. Think Jesus is trying to tell us here something completely different, and much of Matthew 24 has to do with the second coming of Christ. A lot of it has to do with the destruction of Jerusalem before 70 A.D. but Jesus said what he said these things are going to come you up on you like the birth pangs of a woman.

I will get at and they will start and then they'll get stronger and stronger and more intensified as we go through history Vern Poythress writes this such things occurred during the two malts of the Roman Empire. They are occurring now and they will occur just before the second coming people.

John did not write the book of Revelation just for one future generation that will see the second coming of Jesus Christ. John wrote the book of Revelation for every church in every generation will Jesus come back in our generation. Maybe that certainly could happen did Jesus come back in John's generation is the and the answer that is not is the book of Revelation wasn't helpful to John and his people that work with him and that day absolutely. It was helpful below the John did not see the second coming of Christ. We tell you what he did say he saw the unleashing of the four horsemen he saw that the same horrible evil forces were being unleashed in John's day and they had a promise and that promise was that Jesus would be with them. The persecution and through tribulation Richard Phillips of the following most important point made by the vision of the four horsemen is a sovereignty of Christ over the tribulations on earth.

Each horsemen is summoned by cherub.

When Jesus breaks the seal noticed throughout the passage of the horsemen are equipped with what is given to them. The white horseman is given a crown. The red horsemen is permitted to remove peace and given a great sword.

The pale horsemen is given authority to slay 1/4 of the earth. In each case the evil proceeds of its own volition, so that Christ is not directly causing the calamities on earth. Yet the horsemen do only what they are signed and permitted to do according to the plan of God and the sovereign rule of Christ. The purpose of the book of Revelation is not to give us, and I day in our of when Christ will return the purpose of the book of Revelation is to get us prepared for persecution, tribulation, and to make us hungry for the second coming of Christ. I question two. Who are these four horsemen. This look at them one by one, verse two, and I looked, and behold a white horse and its rider had a boat and a crown was given to him and he came out conquering and to conquer in many of conjectured that the writer by all on the white horse is Christ and why would they think that perhaps because in Revelation chapter 19. When Jesus comes back at the end time to put in the in the history he comes on the white horse and so they would say that this guy is writing riding on a white horse, so it must be Jesus understand that thinking but I don't think it's correct I don't think this is Jesus. First of all, the four horsemen arriving with the very same goals in mind they are bringing judgment and pestilence and political upheaval disease and death. I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who sovereignly releases these four horsemen, but I don't think he's just one of the four. These horsemen represent four types of very hellish problems that are unleashed on the earth as a result of man's sin and rebellion against God. The conquering here that goes on by the, the horsemen, the rider on the white horse is not a good conquering and when Jesus died on the cross he conquered sin, he conquered death. That was a good great glorious conquering this conquering is not like this. This conquering here is by evil leaders and tyrants who destroy people's lives p.m. in order to build wicked kingdoms. This type of conquering has to do with lust for world power and for world domination.

I think it needs to be understood this way, the first seal that is being unleashed is warlords and these are released into history. We see men like Herod the great Nero deletion of Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, all of these conquest, bloodshed, famine, and death have and stop the human race all the way through church history, and will continue and it will intensify. So I don't believe the rider on the white horse is Christ to some say was it's not Christ maybe it's a pretender. Maybe it's the antichrist.

Maybe it's the the of the man of lawlessness it's mentioned in second Thessalonians chapter 2, I do believe that he's part of that but I just think he's part of it because he's just gonna be right there at the end but we see this unleashing of these horrible things taking place, not just at the end but it starts way back.

At the time when when the church started and it continues in second Thessalonians chapter 2 verse seven. Paul points out something very important pulses that the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. AAA said so what's going on and what the antichrist will be doing in great power is being done all the way through history but it's that's important. It will continue and it will intensify. I believe this is a picture of wicked church governments that that rise up and and come to great power once again. Let me reiterate the book of Revelation was not written for just the generation that would see the, the, the second coming of Christ. It was written for every church in every generation that that we might have instruction that we might have guidance and that we might have pieced that we would know Jesus Christ is on the throne. Secondly, there was a red horse versus three and four when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say come and out came another horse bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another and he was given a great sword. The second rider on the right red horse represents violence and bloodshed. God removes his restraint from man's heart and what happens man's heart become violent, and they become murderous and remember God's people are going to suffer through this and God's people are going to experience this meant they will be the recipient of much of that violence. I watched a video this week of of just a video wall on persecution of Christians. It was put out by the voice of the martyrs their 50th anniversary and it was going to the life of Richard Warren ran a Roman pastor Romanian pastor that there was a Lutheran and a real man of God, and he was taken. It showed the persecution in the suffering and the torture that man went through.

It was absolutely unbelievable. And that's going on that was 30 years ago. 30 years ago did you realize there been more Christians that have been martyred for their faith in the last hundred years that all the Christians that were martyred for their faith in the 1900 years before that, combined that's unbelievable right now there 215 million Christians around our world who were experiencing versus how persecution or extremely high persecution James Toles about why we would have this problem in James chapter 4 verses one into he said what causes quarrels and what causes fights among you, is it not this, that your passions are at war with you. You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask when societies turn from God that society is surprised by the violence of the people in that society.

They can't figure it out if they knew, and if they believed God's word than they would know that the only remedy for sin is the grace of God. Richard Phillips said our own society has unleashed the most deadly influences from violence glorifying entertainment to sexual liberties that destroy the family. Then when these sinful forces wreak mayhem and bloodshed in our street schools and homes. Secular leaders expressed dismay.

Revelation 6 versus 334 informs us that the red horsemen of slaughter brings judgment by permitting the expression of violent passion within unbelieving mankind the third riders riding a black horse verse 526 when he opened the third seal heard the third living creature say come and I looked, and behold a black horse and its rider had a pair of scales in his hand and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of four living creatures say in a quart of wheat for a denarius, and 3 quarts of barley origin areas and do not harm the oil and the wine. The scene predicts famine and economic collapse. What were people can even afford to buy food was Douglas Kelly who was right. I think when a sense of disobedient culture that turns its back on God can expect an economic collapse.

Christians often suffer during the economic crisis that they suffer particularly when they the worker is a Christian and what he's doing and what he's believing.

It gets him in trouble with his employer or with the governmental power. Once again Richard Phillips get some great insight here. He says this issue is especially relevant in America today with the federal government is requiring Christian business owners to purchase healthcare plans for their employees that provide for abortion causing contraceptives. Failure to do this leads to crippling governmental fines in a nation created to protect the religious freedom of its people. Christians are increasingly permitted to obey Christ only in our private lives to operate even a privately owned business, one must betray his conscience before God. Christian should be praying for legal protection against this unjust tyranny.

Yet we should not be surprised, since Revelation predicts this very kind of persecution. The fourth horse was a pale horse. That's a kind of a sickly pale green versus seven through eight when he opened the fourth seal heard the voice of the fourth living creature say come and I looked, and behold a pale horse and its rider's name was death and hell followed him and they were given authority over 1/4 of the earth, to kill with sword, and with family with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. The movie tombstone. The Cowboys and outlaw Jane had decided they were going to ravage a Mexican wedding. And so they came in with a gun shooting and hollering and screaming.

They went out where all the food had been prepared. They ate up their food and drink their wine, the, the, the bride was coming out of the church and they saw her neck grabbed her and and abused her in as they were doing math. The, the, the groom tried to protect his new wife and and the outlaws shot her in and killed shot him and killed him on the spot. It was a priest and the priest was shouting protesting in and the turnaround and the he shot him and as he was dying.

He screamed out something in Spanish. One of the outlaw game one of the cowboys came over and sat down beside Johnny Ringo said Johnny said you shot a priest. What was he shouting what was he saying in Spanish. Johnny said he was quoting Revelation chapter 6 verse eight and I looked, and behold a pale horse and its rider's name was death and hail followed after him. You know that priest got it right.

That's exactly the type of thing that we are talking about right here that same kind of thing last just two weeks ago now think two weeks this coming Tuesday. A young man at UNC Charlotte took his gun killed two people in cold blood. I think have plans to kill many more as they had apprehended him as they the police were taking them out the reporter started screaming, adding an IRR thing I'm said what's going on here in the young man the murder turnaround and looked at them with a smile on his face and said I shot some people very nonchalantly folks that is the result of a culture that is thumping its nose in God's face. This leads me to my last question, what about the problem of evil people asked the question how can there be a good God when there's so much evil so much violence so much murder so much mayhem that's going on in our world.

How can there be a good God, I want to know the book of Revelation does not does not back up apologetically and try to to do something to save God's reputation. The Scripture tells us here that it is Jesus himself who is unleashing these four horsemen puts the primary message that we should take from the four Horsemen is this God is resolutely angry against the sin and rebellion of this earth. Jane's voice said it this way, the pictures painted by John in the last book of the Bible are not for our amusement, or puzzles merely to exercise our minds. They are warnings of how seriously God takes sin and of how he's going to judge it fully in his time. Purpose of the world is not the pleasure of man in his sin. The purpose of this world is the purpose of God. The glory of God in his righteousness. Romans one. Paul said this although menu God they did not honor him as God or give thanks doing for this reason the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, folks, that's bad news. I realize that's bad news. We tell you the good news. The good news is this Jesus Christ died for sinners just like me and just like you if you're here today and you're not prepared to meeting that I want to encourage you with all my heart today run to Jesus grab one of the elders are here grabbed me, grabbed Eugene asked us to explain the gospel to you. Just let us pray with you if you're here today.

You don't know Jesus Christ, turn from your sin. Trust him and him alone for your salvation that he died to pay the debt for sinners, that he was our substitute that he took our sin and gave us his righteousness that he took our hail and gave us his heaven folks earthly kingdoms are going to come and go with the kingdom of our God will last forever. Amen. Is pray.

Heavenly father, we come before your throne today to praise you. Thank you, and glorify your precious name Lord as I said in my opening prayer.

This is a difficult passage to deal with and I just pray Lord that you would help us, that we might understand it that Lord we might not be frightened by what we might be encouraged that whatever it is that you call us to go through.

You will give us everything that we need by your grace to be your people to glorify your name and to be a witness for your kingdom got indirect is now Lord help us that we might stand in boldness before us a sinful and wicked world and help us heavenly father that we might not capitulate to compromise and is in Jesus holy and wonderful and precious thing we pray. Amen

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