Before I delve into the subject of the four horsemen of end-time Bible prophecy, I must deal with some wrong thinking. Some ministers and Christians proclaim that we (Christians) will NOT be able to discern the times and seasons leading up to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. They often quote verses like these out of context:
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36) or “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2).
However, in failing to give the proper context of these verses, they are teaching the exact opposite of what the Lord Jesus and His prophets taught in the Scriptures. For instance, in the very chapter where Jesus said no man will know the DAY or HOUR of His return, He had just given them many SIGNS TO LOOK FOR! So, it is ridiculous to say that Jesus did not want us to recognize the season when His return was drawing near. And in the passage of 1 Thessalonians 5, the Apostle Paul goes on to say in verse 4, “But ye, BRETHREN, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” In other words, true believers who know the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word will NOT be taken by surprise in the end time!
Furthermore, the Lord Jesus gave us clear teachings about watching and being ready for His return (Luke 12:35-48; Matthew 24:36-52; 25:1-1-13). But some have argued that Christians have been saying the coming of Jesus Christ was near for centuries and it hasn’t happened. These same people go on to say that it could be another 50 or 100 hundred years or even longer before we enter the last days and the see the second coming of Jesus Christ. Others add to those statements saying, “No one really knows. Just live your life and don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter that much anyway. Just be ready” But the Holy Spirit warned us through the Apostle Peter that this would be the attitude of people who would choose to be “willingly ignorant” in the very days (see 2 Peter 3).
Part of the problem stems from Christians who do not understand that Jesus CAN NOT come at “any moment.” The Bible has never taught that His return could happen at “any moment.” The Apostle Paul addressed this issue in 2 Thessalonians 2 when he wrote, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by OUR gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon SHAKEN IN MIND, or BE TROUBLED, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man DECEIVE you by any means: FOR THAT DAY SHALL NOT COME EXCEPT there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed (The Final Antichrist), the son of perdition, Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5).
In other words, “Do not let anyone disturb or agitate your mind, will, understanding and emotions or DECEIVE you about the coming of the Lord Jesus and OUR GATHERING (the rapture) being at HAND or NEAR because there are things that have to happen FIRST! There will be an end-time apostasy or departure from the truth of God’s Word and loyalty to Jesus as the ONLY Lord and Savior and THE MAN OF SIN (the final Antichrist world leader foretold in Daniel, Matthew, and Revelation) must be fully revealed which will happen when he stands in the temple of God and declares himself to be God.” When you put this together with what Jesus said in Matthew 24, what Daniel and the Apostle John wrote about the final Antichrist and other Bible prophecies that have to happen FIRST then Christian leaders and pastors for centuries should have understood that the second coming of Christ and the rapture would not be imminent until those events happened.
When you put the end-time teachings of Jesus into context with what Paul taught in 2 Thessalonians 2, then it is obvious that God wanted the LAST GENERATION to recognize the signs of the times and be aware of what would be happening. God wants this last generation to see where we are and prepare to stand against the onslaught of Satan’s end-time deceptions and persecution.
This brings us to a very important point about end-time Bible prophecy and particularly the book of Revelation. Most people have believed the lies of Satan and deceived preachers that the book of Revelation is just too hard to understand and we will never be able to be sure about this mysterious book of end-time Bible prophecy. But, as we will see, God wants us to understand the book of Revelation. It was not meant to be an unknowable mystery forever for those who continued to read and study it over and over. He even promises a blessing for those who read and study until they understand it:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that READETH, and they that HEAR the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:1-3).
The definition of the word HEAR in this passage from the Greek Dictionary is UNDERSTAND. Also, the Greek verb tense of the words “readeth,” hear, and keep are all the same. They are Present Tense Greek verbs and that is defined as an “ongoing, continuous action that is taking place in the present.” So, what the Lord is saying in Revelation 1:3 is that there is a blessing for those who read and keep reading the prophecy of Revelation until they understand it. And I can testify that God has honored that in my own life as I have continued to read and study the book of Revelation since the 1980s.
I also want to add that I have gleaned a lot of truth about Bible prophecy from other ministers over the years. I mention this because we do have to be open to receive from others who have studied the Bible. It is a manifestation of pride to believe that we don’t need other members of the body of Christ. The flip-side of that coin is that I have had to throw out some popular end-time theories once it became clear that the Bible did not teach those doctrines. The process is about being teachable and asking the Holy Spirit to confirm things to you. Don’t cling to ideas and teachings if they are built upon assumptions or traditions. If the Bible doesn’t say it clearly, then we cannot assert it as a dogmatic truth.
Because of these assumptions and traditions there are many different interpretations of the Four Horsemen that Jesus revealed to John in Revelation Six. And over the last 30 years, I have read about and/or studied most of them. However, when I was a young man, I believe that God began to give me some understanding about these four horses and their riders. Since then, I have learned more about history, Bible prophecy, and the current forces, institutions, and ideologies that are influencing our world. I have also had the Holy Spirit bring more revelation and confirmation in the last few years. Thus, I am confident that we can know EXACTLY what these Four Horsemen represent in our world today. All we have to do is let the Bible interpret the Bible and compare that to what has been happening in our world for the last 2000 years (and especially since the beginning of the 20th Century).
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. And I heard, but I understood not….then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:4, 8-10).
The Key to the Timeline of Revelation
As we look at the first four seals that Jesus opened which are called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, there are some things that we need to understand about the book of Revelation and interpreting symbolic writings in the Bible:
The Book of Revelation includes…
7 Vials of Wrath
It is important to understand that the 7 Seals and the 7 Trumpets DO NOT ALL HAPPEN IN THE LAST SEVEN YEARS (contrary to the traditional teachings in the church world). That assumption sounds nice, but there is not one passage in the Bible that says ALL of the Seals and the Trumpets will happen in the last seven years which is called the Tribulation or the 70th Week of Daniel. Therefore, this traditional belief cannot be held to as a dogmatic truth about end-time prophecy. On the other hand, we do know from Scripture that the 7 Vials of God’s wrath are poured out in the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. We know this because Revelation 16:1-2 says that the FIRST VIAL OF WRATH will be poured out on those who have taken the mark of the Beast. And Revelation 13 says that the Antichrist does not issue or force the mark until he has “42 months to continue” or 3 ½ year left.