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Death Came Riding | Stephen Davey

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
May 14, 2024 12:00 am

Death Came Riding | Stephen Davey

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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May 14, 2024 12:00 am

In this stirring message, Stephen Davey unpacks the chaos and despair of Revelation 6 and the Four Horsemen. Discover how the wrath of God is unleashed on a world that has rejected Him. But in the midst of darkness, there is hope! Find out how to escape God's judgment and experience eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

Key Takeaway: We all face death, but for believers in Christ, it isn't the end! Choose today to leave the funeral procession and join the wedding party of the Lamb.

Want to learn more? Head over to Wisdom Online (https://www.wisdomonline.org) for additional resources and deeper exploration into the wisdom of Scripture.

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There is a coming world famine, so we must attach it to the Gospel. Our mission is not solving world hunger. Our mission is spiritual hunger. Now, if we can feed or help people physically and use that as a bridge to feed them spiritually, it's a double win. If the rapture were to occur and the tribulation break out in a year or two, we would be giving food, if that's all we did, to people who will actually face the horror and deprivation of this coming famine, which will make their famine seem like nothing. We sometimes look around at our society and the problems faced by our world and they seem terrible.

They often are terrible. But a time is coming when things will be much worse. The only way to prepare for that future time is to be prepared spiritually. When John received his revelation from the Lord about the end times, it would have been like watching a horror movie. In the section of God's Word that we're studying today, death is emerging from the water on a grotesque horse and galloping toward the earth with demonic speed. Stephen called this message, Death Came Riding. In Revelation 6, 1, if you've been with us, we reached that point, the first horseman came riding on a white horse. He's the counterfeit prince of peace, offering a brief time of peace affecting, for the most part, Israel. In verse 3 of the same chapter, the second horseman comes riding upon a blood-red horse. He rides in to incite global unrest and murder.

It's as if a blackout hits the planet, rioting and looting break out all over the planet. Bad and bad enough, now the lamb will open the scroll just a little further as he breaks another seal and another rider mounts up. Look at verse 5. When he opened the third seal, I 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.

He's literally holding a zugaz. It's the metal beam from which are suspended, the two plates on either end from which they weigh produce or food products. Now, there's no reason to wonder what these scales symbolize, for we're told in the middle part of verse 6, look there, a quart of wheat for a denarius and three quarts of barley for denarius. In other words, it's measuring out this wheat and barley for food. One quart of wheat in John's day was just a little less than our day, but one quart would basically in the first century represent the daily need for one person to survive with just enough food.

The denarius was a simple Roman silver coin. It represented a day's wage. They were typically the common man paid at the end of each day.

In other words, there would be enough wheat to feed one man for only one day, and it would cost the entire day's compensation. Now, let me put that into today's economy. Suppose that you work at McDonald's.

You probably feel you're already in the tribulation, but suppose you're there working, and you work eight hours tomorrow. You're going to make $6.15 an hour. That's minimum wage in North Carolina. The good news is next summer it's going up to $7.25 an hour, but before you get too excited, imagine if this biblical scene is unfolding now, you would need every bit of Monday's income, about $50 to buy one loaf of bread. $50 for a loaf of bread, and you can't eat at McDonald's either because by comparison a Big Mac would cost about $100.

So you gather the family around. You're paid that you brought home, and you decide what you're going to do, and you realize that you really can't afford to buy a quart of wheat to make just enough bread for one person. Everybody else in the family needs to eat, and so you decide you're going to eat three quarts of barley. You could feed then perhaps a small family if you had a job, and if you got paid, and if the barley was available one day at a time. And by the way, coarse barley in the days of John was for animals and extremely poor people. This is in effect in runaway inflation.

These figures here, some have estimated about 15 to 18 times the normal costs or cost of living. Following the outbreak of universal war and rioting as we studied, it's no surprise then that earth is sort of plunged then into worldwide famine. It's interesting to note, by the way, this little phrase at the end of verse six that indicates the fact that oil and wine would not be harmed.

Death, Hades, was not to harm this or these particular elements. Olive oil and wine would be the luxuries of the rich. The staples of life, wheat and barley, were being weighed out one pinch at a time, but the wealthy were basically unaffected.

Another seal a little later on will cover their own tribulation. So this informs us then that the disparity between the rich and the rest of the world will become more and more apparent. It grows deeper and wider. You have very wealthy people and then the rest of the world is poor, basically writhing with a hunger. This type of disparity is certainly around the day. I can remember visiting India leaving the scholar of poverty, passing, people begging. It seemed that everyone was living on their last meal and entering the gates of this compound where we were having this conference for leaders in India and literally the gates opened and we drove into manicured lawns and the most opulent hotel I have ever, to this day, ever stayed in.

It was all marble and seemed to be plated gold. Outside, incredible poverty. That's a picture here of this kind of disparity where most will suffer until the later seals of the rich will get away with it. The world is teetering on bankruptcy.

World economies in this scene are shifting and moving. We think of our own problems. We think of a gasoline spike or flooding in the Midwest or maybe an Asian tsunami that decimates so many people.

These are mild. These are distant, sort of distant thunderclaps of a coming storm that affects the entire world. Frankly, the coming black horse representing famine is difficult to grasp even as you try to climb into this scene, especially in our culture today. We're all well fed. We're all overfed, aren't we? So to talk about famine, it brings no horror to our minds because we've never gone without, for the most part. Maybe some of you have, but my idea of skipping or going without is skipping a snack before bedtime. Am I going to have that bowl of ice cream or not? No, I'm not. With great resolve, I don't. You remember growing up, sitting at the table with the plate that everything was gone except a few things?

They're usually round and green. At least in my life, they were. And my parents tell me, there are starving kids out there. That didn't help.

Did it help you? So why are you telling your kids the same thing? Okay, stop it. It doesn't help. But it didn't help me anymore as well to tell my parents that they wouldn't need this either if they were here. But at any rate, the tragedy is that in our culture, we represent the royalty and the nobles. There is truth to what our parents told us. The average American dog has a higher protein diet than half our world today. It's one of the reasons, by the way, that our own relief effort is going on right now in China, our partnering with Christians who not only deliver food to those who are needy but deliver the gospel to those. We understand, don't we, that people who are full still die and can go to hell as well as people who are hungry.

So we must attach it to the gospel. Our mission is not solving world hunger. Our mission is spiritual hunger. Now if we can feed or help people physically and use that as a bridge to feed them spiritually, it's a double win. We help them temporarily but we give them greater help eternally. If the rapture were to occur and the tribulation break out in a year or two, we would be giving food if that's all we did to people who will actually face the horror and deprivation of this coming famine which will make their famine seem like nothing.

There is a coming world famine and everything we see here and now I believe would be, as Christ said to those who wondered about suffering in his world, are warnings to repent and it only gets worse. Look at verse 7. Verse 7 tells us that he then opened the fourth seal and I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, come. And I looked and behold, a pale horse. By the way, the word pale is the word chloros which gives us our word chlorine.

It's a word that refers to pale, something that's pale green. In fact, it's used later in Revelation for dying vegetation. It was used by the ancients to refer to the decay of death and without a doubt the color is sickly and it's going to be very unnatural to be the color of a horse as death comes riding. And by the way, it's interesting that this fourth and final horse is the only horse of which we're given the name of its rider.

Did you notice that? And its rider's name was Death and Hades followed him and they were given authority over a fourth of the world's population. As bad as it's been, as horrific and devastating as it's been, here comes death riding a pale green horse and in the wake of this horseman, one fourth of the world's population is going to die.

Let that strike you for a few minutes. By the way, there's never been a time when the result of all four horsemen occurred in overlapping sequences of time. There's never been a time in world history when this kind of world madness with all of these effects was felt universally at the same time. Certainly one fourth of the earth's population has not been killed in such a short amount of time nor has it been calculated in history. This is all yet future. This is all yet to come. But if the tribulation were to begin, in our generation what this means is that about one billion people would die in just a few months.

It's staggering. Well, how does God destroy so many people at one time? What are the secondary causes of his wrath?

We're given four of them in this text. We're told that it's going to be the sword, notice the latter part of verse eight, and famine and pestilence and wild beasts. The first cause of death is the sword.

I believe with many others this is a reference primarily to death by murder. This is the deadly assault of individuals upon other individuals. Can you imagine a time when you have nothing to eat? Can you imagine a time when the world is chaotic? It's been struck with so many natural disasters one after another and now there's no food and there are dead lying everywhere and you've got to eat? Can you imagine the killing that will take place? Certainly wars that began earlier will restart and new wars begin.

Everybody will take the law into their own hands. The second thing mentioned of the cause of death is famine. This is more than likely the culmination of lingering starvation that's already begun as those who somehow hung on and foraged enough for maybe another little bit to eat finally run out of options and starved to death. The third cause of death here is pestilence. The Greek word is the normal word translated death. However, Ezekiel used this word to speak of these times in Ezekiel 14 and 21 as plagues to cut off man and beast.

That's how he uses the word. Can you imagine the effects of worldwide hunger and bloodshed, loss of civility, the loss of the value or respect for human life? It's the survival of the fittest and the fastest and the strongest and the meanest. Death and disease, corpses lying everywhere, epidemics, this pestilence he speaks of will spread like wildfire. And you think, oh, that's going to be so far from that because we've got so much stuff under control now. We've just begun to be aware that we really don't, do we? The optimism of the 70s that spelled the end of super microbes, at least to the public eye. Now in the early 80s when the strange new disease surfaced, called AIDS, transmitted through a number of ways, primarily through sexual activity, which is why the media shuts down most talk about it. Think of this, what we aren't told, I just did some calculations again this week, just in the last three years, more people died from AIDS than live in the state of North Carolina.

Just in the last three years. 8,000 people are dying every day. And these are just the beginning days. These are just the beginning days. These are the beginning of birth pangs. This is the outset of it.

These are the first three and a half years. Yet future, this is just the beginning. And those that believe that the rapture is going to occur somewhere at the midpoint of the tribulation because that's when the real wrath of God, that's when bad stuff really happens on earth, have not studied these four horsemen enough.

This is pretty bad. One out of every four people on the planet die. There's one more cause of death, a little harder to discern what he means here. John writes of the wild beasts of the earth. You could certainly interpret this as a reference to carnivorous animals that are now loose and on the prow during these kinds of conditions. Some believe then it would be a reference to lions, bears, tigers, wild animals that are coming on the rampage. My primary objection with that interpretation is that carnivorous beasts will have all they want to eat among the starving and the dead worldwide. Some believe this is a reference to the Antichrist given the fact that the word for beast here in this text Therion is used throughout the book of Revelation to refer to the beast, the Antichrist, and his false prophet. I wouldn't interpret it that way either simply because at this point of the tribulation, the Antichrist isn't killing people. He's still assuming this role of peacemaker. He's still gaining the credibility and the ultimate loyalty of the world.

I don't believe it's him. I would place these wild beasts in the way it's structured here in close connection to the preceding cause of death which is plagues, animals bearing plagues, wild animals that bring death perhaps not through eating people and again the reasons I've given you. You think of the most dangerous animal on the planet even today, far more dangerous than lions, tigers, and bears is the common rat. It carries at least 35 known diseases. Its fleas carry bubonic plague.

History verifies what can happen as it did in Europe 600 years ago. Millions were killed. They also carry typhus which has killed an estimated 200 million people over the last 400 years. They may very well be these wild animals that John has in mind who bring great death. So you have sword, and you have the famine, and you have a pestilence, and then you have these disease-carrying animals that are running loose.

Now if you look closely at verse 8, you'll notice that this pale horse has someone following him. John writes, the writer's name was Death and wherever death rides, Hades is like this shadow. I believe this is God's way of warning humanity and all those who refuse to believe the gospel of Christ that death is not the end of suffering.

It is in the end. After death, Hades, the place of torment. You have death that takes the body and Hades that takes, as it were, the soul. Hades is the Old Testament counterpart to Sheol. It is the place where even to this day the souls of unbelievers go after death, where they await the ultimate verdict that will occur later on in the book of Revelation, and then Hades will be emptied into the lake of fire, which we refer to as hell.

It's a place of conscious self-awareness. It is a place of physical suffering with an intermediate body or senses capable of suffering torment. Christ described the man suffering in Hades who cried out in Luke 16 and 23, I am in anguish in this flame.

So Hades, rightly so, comes behind death, as it were, to take all the souls of the unbelieving who died in the tribulation and these souls, along with all of the unbelieving, of all of time and human history, are even now waiting, tormented, condemned, without appeal, awaiting their final judgment and delivery over to eternal hell. And maybe you're saying, you know, that's why I don't like coming to church. I don't like coming to church because every time I come you're talking about hell. Fire and brimstone. Well, I don't talk about it every Sunday. Maybe you guys are just timing it when you show up that I do.

I don't know know. Do you think for a moment that eternal hell is something that I would choose to preach on? Do you think that this is something that the clergy have created to scare people into being nice, clock in at church and give a little bit of money to charity?

No, this is for real. And you cannot teach through the Bible without dealing with the subject of judgment and hell. It's the gospel. It's the truth. There is a real eternal hell to shun. More horrific than we could ever imagine. And there is a real glorious new heaven, a new earth to enjoy.

It is more wonderful than we could ever imagine. And the turnstile that determines which way you spend all of eternity is in the form of a cross. And the one upon it who paid the penalty for your sin and mine, in fact the sin of the whole world. Listen again to the warning. Whoever, John the baptizer said, has the son, has life.

Whoever disbelieves the son does not have life and the wrath of God remains on him. Imagine the horror of that implication. This isn't temporary. This isn't three and a half years.

This isn't seven years. This is forever and ever and ever and ever. I wouldn't believe it if the Bible didn't teach it. The thundering of these four horsemen in the coming world madness with all its terrors as God unleashes his wrath upon the planet is still nothing to compare to having the wrath of God remain on you forever. Perhaps you've been brought here, my friend, to hear one more fire and brimstone message. So that maybe today, and this is our prayer, you will believe in Christ alone. Amen. You just heard the amen of people who would pray that that would be so in your own life that you would believe today. Well how do you end a series on the four horsemen?

If the rapture happens, it won't matter, right? How do you wrap it up? Well, as I prop my feet up on my desk and thought through what might be the residual effect of this study in my own heart, I jotted down four words.

Maybe you'll have four more or four different ones, but these four come to mind. The first is motivation. The potential of the church age as we know it ending and in our lifetime causes me to want to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ with every means possible in every way possible and at every chance. It's motivating.

Evaluation. The end of days as we know them causes me to not only want to communicate the gospel to confirm the sincerity of my faith in Christ and yours too. Is your testimony a card you signed as a kid at camp?

Is it because you got water on your forehead or on your whole body at 12? Is that it? Or is it a living relationship today with a living Lord? Evaluate yourself, Paul, in fact told the church in Corinth to examine yourself to see if you're in the faith. You say, well, he'd be asking pagans.

I know he asked the church that. It causes me to evaluate. Where do I stand with God? Anticipation is another word. Anticipation to cling to the promise of his coming and love and long for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4.8, knowing that before these horsemen thunder from the skies, should we be alive, we're going to be raptured to meet the Lord in the skies. The long for that day when we meet him in the air, 1 Thessalonians 4.17. Motivation, evaluation, anticipation, and exaltation. The soon coming of Christ and the glory of his victory and the splendor of his kingdom and then the eternal state make me want to even now honor and exalt and glorify Christ in my life. Because all that matters is what matters to him.

And doing it in a way that would please him, whether it's washing dishes or cutting the grass or fixing a computer or preaching a sermon. This one will soon come. And we with him and written in his vestments on his thigh is his name, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So the four horsemen in this world scene, which is horrific, is a reminder as we study that all of us have been born into the wrong family.

It is cursed indeed. There isn't nothing we can do to escape apart from Christ and him alone and those who come to faith in Christ, trusting in his cross work alone. Leave is where the funeral procession, which is only going to accelerate in this day and we join the wedding march as a part of the bridal party, the bride of Christ. We're headed for the rapture. We should die before then. Our spirit, which would go immediately to be with Christ, will be reunited with our glorified body, which will come shooting out of the grave and a reunion. We're headed there. Already our church family has seen several go just in the last few days who form now this welcoming committee for all of us left here waiting for our beloved.

Aren't you thankful for the hope of the gospel and the resurrection and life that God offers you? You've tuned in to Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Stephen is the president of Wisdom International. During this current teaching series entitled Four Horsemen and the Coming World Madness, we have one of Stephen's resources available at a deeply discounted price. It's a booklet Stephen's written entitled The Coming Tribulation.

In it, he answers some of the common questions people have about this coming time. It's a short, easy to read resource that'll help you understand the tribulation. If you'd like information on how you can get a copy, give us a call at 866-48-BIBLE. That's 866-48-BIBLE or 866-482-4253. You'll also find this resource on our website, wisdomonline.org. Visit there anytime to access this or any of Stephen's Bible teaching resources. We're going to continue this series next time here on Wisdom for the Heart. You'll also find this resource on our website, wisdomonline.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-14 00:10:20 / 2024-05-14 00:19:51 / 10

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