The Bible speaks to three distinct groups of people: The Jews, The Gentiles and The Church.
Many people have much to say about what is going to happen during the end times. Much of which is, to be frank, completely unbiblical. It is important that any teaching on the end times is firmly grounded in the Bible and does not get into areas which really fall under the category of conspiracy theory. In my post ‘How To Survive The Tribulation (Guaranteed)‘, I explained that the Bible speaks to three distinct groups of people: The Jews, The Gentiles and The Church. It is a lack of understanding of this, that has led to most of the confusion concerning the Book of Revelation. To many, Revelation is a book of mystery, but if God intended it to be a mystery, He could not have given it a less apt name!
Daniel’s look at the tribulation period is brief, only one verse in fact.
Daniel’s look at the tribulation period is brief, only one verse in fact. Daniel 9:27 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition reads, “He shall enter into a strong and firm covenant with the many for one week [seven years]. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and offering to cease [for the remaining three and one-half years]; and upon the wing or pinnacle of abominations [shall come] one who makes desolate, until the full determined end is poured out on the desolator”. This is often referred to as Daniel’s 70th week (see the previous verses in Daniel chapter 9). This verse in Daniel contains the information that the period in question will last for seven years and that a distinct change for the worse will occur at the halfway point. It is widely accepted that the ‘he’ in the verse refers to the anti-christ. Daniel was writing to the Jews; so read in context, the whole passage is speaking of the future of the children of Israel.
Jesus is the one holding the scroll.
Next, let’s move to Matthew chapter 24 and also Revelation chapter 6. In Matthew 24:3 in the English Standard Version, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?“. Jesus’ response explained many of the things that would occur at ‘the end of age’ and put some flesh on the bones of what Daniel had been shown. When Jesus later gave the revelation to the apostle John from Heaven, He further fleshed out what He had told His disciples (of whom John was one). Jesus began in Matthew 24:4-5, “Be careful! Don’t let anyone fool you. Many people will come and use my name. They will say, ‘I am the Messiah.’ And they will fool many people” (Easy to Read Version). In other words, these people will be false or anti-christs. This corresponds with Revelation 6:1-2, “Then I watched while the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice of thunder, “Come out!” I looked, and before my eyes was a white horse. Its rider carried a bow, and he was given a crown. He rode out conquering and bent on conquest” (J.B. Phillips version). The rider here is the anti-christ (not Jesus – He is the one holding the scroll).
It will cost a whole day’s pay, just to buy one loaf of bread.
Jesus continues in Matthew 24:6-7, “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars—but don’t be alarmed. Such things must indeed happen, but that is not the end. For one nation will rise in arms against another, and one kingdom against another” (J.B. Phillips). This time of increased warfare takes the form of the second rider in Revelation 6:3-4, “Then, when the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature, cry, “Come out!” And another horse came forth, red in colour. Its rider was given power to deprive the earth of peace, so that men should kill each other. A huge sword was put into his hand” (J.B. Phillips). Then comes the third horse, in Revelation 6:5-6, “I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine”” (New Living Translation). This speaks of massive inflation and famine – it will cost people a whole day’s pay, just to buy one loaf of bread. It is not certain what the oil and wine refers to. This time of famine gets a short line in Matthew 24:7, “There will be famines” (Modern English Version).
Christian martyrs would not be crying out for God’s vengeance.
Let’s read on from Matthew 24:7 into verse 8: “There will be famines, epidemics, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Modern English Version). Does this tie in with the next part of Revelation 6? Yes it does, look at how verse 8 describes the fourth horse: “So I looked, and there was a pale horse, and the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed him. Power over a fourth of the earth was given to them, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth” (Modern English Version) – both Matthew & Revelation speak of things that will bring widespread death. Revelation then talks about those who were killed for the word of God (you’ll need to look it up in your own Bible for this), but to be clear – these are not Christian martyrs. Christian martyrs would not be crying out for God’s vengeance as described in verse 10 (“How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood“). If anything, Christians martyrs would be crying out for grace. The Church Age is called ‘The Time Of Grace’, but once the Church is gone, the time of grace will be over. The martyrs in verses 9-11 are those who have died for God during the tribulation period, they are described in Matthew 24:9-13. It is these people, not the Church, who need to ‘endure unto the end’.
Matthew 24:14-28 then describes a terrible time for the Jewish people, in which they will be forced to flee for their lives. Verse 20 makes it clear that this passage is primarily directed at the Jews (who did not accept Jesus prior to the rapture), “Pray that your escape will not be in the winter or on the Sabbath” (Modern English Version). For most people, whether or not this occurred on the Sabbath would make no difference, but there are orthodox Jews who, even with the anti-christ chasing after them, would not drive on the Sabbath day. These warnings also apply to anyone else who is still here, but as I said, the Sabbath will not have any direct relevance.
And that concludes our study of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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