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As we open the Scripture this morning, I want to draw your attention back to the book of Revelation. Back of the Bible, at the very end of the New Testament, is the book of Revelation, and with this book, we go back to the future. We go back to an ancient book that depicts, in detail, the future. Obviously divinely inspired by God, we read in this incredible book the features that are going to occur at the end of human history when the wrath of God is released and Christ returns to earth.

In this particular section of Revelation, starting in chapter 6, where we are now, we come to the great body of this book, running all the way to chapter 18. And all of this is about final wrath. It is about the final wrath of God on the world. This is after the church age, which was basically the subject of chapters 1 to 3. It is after chapters 4 and 5, where you have the church raptured and taken to heaven, to join with the spirits of just men made perfect from redemptive history, along with the holy angels. And in chapters 4 and 5, they are surrounding the throne of God in worship. So the book of Revelation starts on the earth with the church, moves to heaven with the church glorified and the saints around the throne in worship, and then the scene shifts back to the earth, in chapter 6, as divine wrath is unleashed. Chapters 4 and 5, you will remember, was all about worship around the throne. But there was more than that there. As I pointed out at the time we went through chapters 4 and 5, there was the rumbling of God’s war machine. While there is praise to God in heaven, there is action getting ready for God to unleash His holy wrath on the world.

As we come to chapter 6, the visions of this particular text can happen in our world right now. And since the church is to be raptured before it happens, we might be very near the cry of our Lord, calling us who believe in Him to heaven for the marriage supper of the Lamb to be with the Savior. The church is in heaven in chapters 4 and 5; and all hell breaks loose, and all heaven breaks loose as well, in chapter 6, on earth.

To sum it up, the future of this world is horrendous. It’s not going to be a climate disaster, it’s not going to be an environmental disaster; it’s going to be a divine judgment, and it’s going to come when man’s transgression has reached its apex point. Man’s world faces death. Sin is taking a fearsome toll. Every dimension of our society, every dimension of our culture is being devastated by depravity to a degree and extent that has never been possible in the past. Oh, there’s always been immorality—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. There’s always been indulgence. There’s always been impurity. There’s always been corruption. “The whole world lies in the lap of the evil one,” Scripture says. “There’s none good, no, not one”—we get that.

There’s always been rejection of God, rejection of Christ, rejection of the truth, but never has the panoply of transgressions been available to the degree that it is today. There was a time when you were exposed to sin only when you were participating in it or watching it. And then came television, and you could watch other people sinning. And that was bad enough. That added to the pollution of the human mind and soul. Now the very worst of all corruption, the most vile of all human behavior, the most godless, the most evil experiences can show up in the palm of your hand, and you can’t protect yourself. There’s always been evil, but there’s never been the ability to transport every imaginable and unimaginable evil thing into the palm of everyone’s hand. There was a time when you had to be somewhere to be exposed to that; now it’s everywhere.

The dust of death is on us, and the wrath of God hovers over us. Doom may be very near. We may be close to the final, frantic antics of a dying man. And when this judgment breaks loose, Jeremiah says, “Alas, for that day is great. There is none like it.” And that would include the flood that destroyed the whole world in the time of Noah. This is worse than that. It is horrendous, and judgment is looming on the horizon, as evidenced by the conduct of the world. It’s unimaginable that it could possibly get any worse.

Turn to Isaiah 34. There are many places in the Old Testament where the wrath of God is revealed, but this one will be sufficient to give you the picture. This is Isaiah 34, God basically telling all the nations of the world about the final judgment. Isaiah 34:1, “Draw near, O nations, to hear, and listen, O peoples!”—all nations, all the populations of the earth—“Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it. For the Lord’s indignation is against all the nations, and His wrath against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to slaughter”—that’s total destruction, promised globally. “So their slain will be thrown out, and their corpses will give off their stench, and the mountains will be drenched with their blood. And all the host of heaven will wear away”—this is talking about the end of even celestials bodies—“the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; all their hosts will also wither away as a leaf withers from the vine, or as one withers from the fig tree. For My sword is satiated”—not only on earth, but—“in heaven. Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom”—Edom represents pagan nations—“and upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction”—there’s a phrase, “devoted to destruction.” “The sword of the Lord is filled with blood.” And then in verse 8, “The Lord has a day of vengeance.”

You could look at our world today, sometimes you might think you hear the choking of a dying world. You would be right. You would be right. And that is the description that we get in the book of Revelation. So return to the book of Revelation, and I want to show you the opening eight verses of chapter 6—we looked at it a little bit last time. This unfolds the beginning of the end, the beginning of the end—the beginning of the wrath of God. It is a section that is exactly parallel to Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, where our Lord describes the very same judgments. And we’re going to look at these judgments as they are revealed in Scripture in the imagery of seven seals.

You remember in chapters 4 and 5 that God is sitting on the throne. He has a scroll in His hand sealed seven times. That’s the title deed to the universe. Very often in ancient times, the will and testament of a person was sealed up until the rightful heir could undo the seals and take the inheritance.

And you remember, around the throne there was no one to open the scroll until the Lamb who is the Lion appeared, Christ, and took the scroll. And the scroll is the title deed to the earth, and He is the heir; and He will unroll the scroll, break the seals, and this will unleash the judgment by which the entire universe is transferred from the power of Satan into the power of Christ. All of this wrath goes on clear through the end of chapter 18, until chapter 19 where the full transition takes place and Christ arrives to set up His rule over the entire world. The imagery is potent, it is shocking, it is overwhelming, it is frightening; and you will understand, because of your being alive in this time, how realistic this really is.

So unforgettable scenes are pulled across our startled minds as we see, with John, these seals. So let me introduce you to the first four—chapter 6, verse 1, I’ll read down to chapter 6, verse 8: “Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come.’ I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

“When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come.’ And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.

“When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, ‘Come.’ I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.’

“When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come.’ I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.”

These are the famous four horsemen of the apocalypse.

As we saw last time, it all seems to start out in a very hopeful way, because the first seal is broken, and one of the four living creatures—whom we know now are angels—cries with a loud voice of thunder, “Come.” And the white horse comes, and the rider has a bow—and we pointed out no arrows, so this is a peaceful ascendency—and a crown was given to him. So that first phase of the final judgment will be that worldwide, global deceptive utopian peace, one world government.

Peace is being depicted here, peace. This is where it all starts. But you can tell from verse 2 that the peace is very fragile because though peace is depicted, peace immediately has to conquer and go on conquering. And the Antichrist, who is essentially the leader over that global world government of peace, has to fight to maintain his power. These, Jesus said, are the beginning of the birth pains in anticipation of final wrath—peace, followed by war, followed by famine, followed by death, the beginning of the birth pains.

This comes in a time that the Lord calls the Great Tribulation. It’s a seven-year period, as described by Daniel the prophet. And in the book of Revelation it says that half of it is three and a half years or forty-two months, or twelve hundred and sixty days. So it’s a seven-year period of wrath, and the last half is the most intense.

You could say the first four seals take place in the first half, and then in the fifth seal and all that comes after that, you go through the last half, the most horrible of all the judgments. Seven seals, but out of the seventh seal comes seven trumpet judgments that are rapid-fire, disastrous judgments from God; and out of the final trumpet, the seventh trumpet, comes seven bowl judgments which are even more rapid-fire divine judgments, consummating judgment. So you have seven seal judgments; out of the seventh seal, seven trumpet judgments; out of the seventh trumpet, seven bowl judgments; and we will see all of that. This is the beginning of all of that.

As each seal is opened, there is a sequence. As we said last time, first is a short-lived peace. It looks good. The Antichrist rises to power in the world. And apparently, a time of peace and prosperity because, literally, “a crown was given to him.” The world hands him the crown. He is the solution to their problems. And we know the problems of the world are massive. We know the world is crying for a leader. They’re in a perfect position for Satan to establish the Antichrist as that leader. He has “a bow,” but no arrows. This is not a military conquest, this is a political ascendency. But very soon it descends into him having to fight, “to conquer” to hold on to his power, because he will be assaulted. In fact, he will have to make war to survive.

Listen to chapter 13 of Revelation, verse 4, chapter 13. It says that the whole population of the world in the future worships the dragon—that’s Satan. The whole population of the world will worship Satan “because he gave his authority to the beast.” They may not know they’re worshiping Satan; they’re worshiping the beast who is the Antichrist, and by worshiping him they’re worshiping Satan who empowers him. And they worshiped him, and this is what they said: “Who is like the beast”—the Antichrist—“and who is able to wage war with him?”

It will be established not only that he has established a kingdom of peace, but that he is a formidable, formidable enemy to those who decide to fight. There will be triumphs of his conquering even during the golden age of prosperity and the golden age of peace. That’s why Jesus, in His sermon on the Second Coming in Matthew 24, said that no sooner does this peace arrive, then you have wars and rumors of wars, nation rising up against nation. You have war all over the world.

But I want you to know a little more about this individual, this Antichrist, this human figure that Satan will raise up in the end to lead this kingdom of rebellion against God. So turn in your Bibles to Daniel chapter 8, Daniel chapter 8. Daniel has a lot to say about the Antichrist, but I’ll give you some of the things that are revealed here.

If you go down to chapter 8, verse 23, the prophecy comes to Daniel: “In the latter period of their rule”—this is what’s going on in the future in the world—“when the transgressors have run their course, a king will arise.” So this is the Antichrist, and he comes “when the transgressors have run their course,” when it’s enough, when God says, “No more, that’s enough.” He will be “insolent and skilled in intrigue.” In other words, you won’t know really what’s going on. He will be deceitful.

Verse 24, “His power will be mighty, but not by his own power”—it’s by the power of Satan; “he will destroy to an extraordinary degree.” So he comes as the man of peace, and he winds up with extraordinary destruction. He “[prospers] and [performs] his will; he will destroy mighty men and the holy people. And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence.” This is the feature that is most important: He is a deceiver. He is a deceiver. He is a fraud, he is a liar, and he’s shrewd at his deception—shrewd enough, basically, to deceive the whole world.

Verse 25 again, “He will magnify himself in his heart, he will destroy many while they are at ease.” He’ll go after people who are not causing any resistance. There will be people who resist him, and he will destroy them. There will be people who do not resist him openly, and he will destroy them. “He will even oppose the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency.” Eventually, he will go after Christ Himself and be destroyed, and—as we know later in the book of Revelation—thrown into the lake of fire.

He will fight against those who assault him, and he will kill those who are at ease—people who are no threat, overtly, to him. But he’ll know everything about them. He’ll have astonishing knowledge. In fact, we’re living in a world now, where somebody knows everything about everybody. We all understand that. Even in our own country, those who are supposed to be in charge of our security spy on us all the time. They know everything about us. They’re doing everything they can to drive everyone toward the Internet.

COVID was part of that. Destroy as many small businesses as you can, that’s how you destroy free enterprise. The effort seems to be to crash the entire dollar-based economy by massive, massive printing of money, until the whole system crashes, and they can shift to digital currency, and you won’t be able to access any of that. If you don’t have the number, if you don’t have the access code to the Internet, you can’t buy food, you can’t pay your bills, you can’t buy gasoline, you can't heat your house, you can’t make a phone call, and they know everything about you. This is the Antichrist and his world.

Go to chapter 11 of Daniel, and there’s more to be said about this individual in verse 36. Daniel 11:36, “Then the king will also do as he pleases.” He’ll have nobody to restrain him initially. It would be like Hitler ruling the world and no opposition, only worse. “He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods.” He will be a blasphemer. “He will prosper until the indignation is finished,” until God is ending His tolerance. And then “that which is decreed will be done.”

Verse 37 tells us more about it: And “he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers”—he’ll have no reverence for tradition or traditional religion—“or for the desire of women”—may well be a homosexual—“nor will he show regard for any other god; he will magnify himself above them all.”

Verse 38, he will be a man who has to fight, “so he will honor the god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures.” In other words, he will have to engage in taxation to fortify his defenses. “He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.” He’ll take over everything; this is government ownership of everything.

So he’s riding high, and he is powerful. He will build a global economy. You see it in Revelation 18—we’ll get there. But it’s a global economy. In Revelation 18 you have the prophecies of its demise. But Revelation 18 characterizes his worldwide system.

Then the toughest battles start in chapter 11 of Daniel and verse 40. Look at that: “At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North.” Now, notice this. There’s an effort today to have one world government, one global government to section the world into regions, to section the world into regions. That’s what the World Forum is doing, the World Economic Forum. They want to break down national barriers; that’s why they want open borders. That’s why they hate nationalism. That’s why they resent and will do everything they can to stop anybody who wants to “make America great again,” because what they want to do is have one global economy without borders and they have control of everything. They want to segment the world into sections over which they rule.

But there still will be rulers in these sections. And you have in verse 40 “the king of the South,” some coalition of the South, and then a coalition of “the North” both mentioned there. These certainly could be confederacies of Arab and Muslim nations. They “will collide with him, and . . . storm against him with chariots . . . horsemen . . . many ships.” This is ancient language for force of warfare. “He will enter countries, overflow them and pass through.” He will be victorious. They won’t be able to dethrone this Antichrist.

“He will also enter the Beautiful Land”—which is Israel—“many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. He will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and Ethiopians will”—in other words, he’s going to win every victory and take all the spoil. Then “rumors [about] the East” coming, and again “from the North . . . and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.”

That’s why the second seal is what it is, because wrath comes rapidly, rapidly into this supposed utopia. It’ll be wrath from nations that don’t want to be held under his totalitarian control. They will rebel, as people have done through human history when under totalitarian rule. So he will have to fight off nation after nation after nation.

There’s more to know about him. If you look at chapter 7 of Daniel, verse 25, “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, he will intend to make alterations in times and in law”—he’s going to change the law—“be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” That’s three and a half years. “But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.” Antichrist will be defeated and all the kingdoms given to Christ.

Go back in chapter 7 to verse 13, and here’s that vision: “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming”—that’s Christ—“was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom.” This is when the title deed to the universe transfers from Satan and Antichrist to Messiah Christ. “To Him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” So the Antichrist has a moment of peace. It’s a fragile peace, and he has to fight war after war after war to hold onto his power.

Now go back to Revelation 6. He fights against the Prince of princes, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Christ. He loses that battle, and you’ll see that in the nineteenth chapter of Revelation.

“The second seal”—and we’ll look at these rather briefly. “The second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come.’” This is a vision that John is having. “And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.” This is not just war, this is slaughter. So you say you’re a prepper and you’ve been hoarding food? Lots of luck when the famine comes and your neighbors know you have the food.

Following this peace comes war, and God grants as a part of His will this war. This rider is not a person, it’s war, just as the first one was not a person, it was peace, although Antichrist is the leader of that. This is war that takes peace from the earth, and people begin to slaughter each other. Violent slaughter all over the world. It’s not just Antichrist fighting battles, it’s not just nations fighting battles, it’s people slaughtering each other.

The word for “sword” here is machaira. That is not a rhomphaia, which is a big broadsword. That’s a dagger, and it was used for assassination. It was used for assassination.

We saw in Daniel 8 that an Antichrist will destroy, to an extraordinary degree, destroy mighty men and holy people. He’ll slaughter those who have come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation. He slaughters many Jews and believers from the Gentile nations. Chapter 7 shows that they come from every tongue and tribe and people and nation to salvation during this period of time—and he slaughters them. So you have bloodshed going on everywhere, on a national level, and people murdering each other in a time when they are fighting for survival.

That leads to the third seal: “When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, ‘Come.’ I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and wine.’” This is famine, famine. This is tied to inflation. That’s what you see here. When a quart of wheat costs a day’s wages, a denarius. Three quarts of barley, a day’s wages; and barley is not the most edible of grains. Black is the color of famine; you can see that in Lamentations chapter 5.

Hunger is the effect of all this slaughter and all this war and all this deprivation. And you’re very much aware, I’m sure, of the assaults on the food chain going on around the globe today, as people in power have created a false narrative about environmental disaster looming over us, the lies and deception of climate change, which is a complete hoax, in order to panic people and to have excuses to change food chains, get rid of cows. You hear it all. Food supply becomes very limited, and they’re in control of all of it, they’re in control of the land. And now you have inflation, where it costs you a day’s wages just to get a tiny bit of grain, a quart of wheat. And oil and wine becomes precious, which means it would be more expensive than people could hope to buy.

Famine, global famine, caused by war and caused by all the other things that we’re talking about. And one of the ways you can stop people rebelling is by making sure they don’t eat. I think the powers that be in that day will control the food supplies—they’re endeavoring to do now—by creating government ownership or government partnership with business so that they can then gain control.

And the effect of this, of course, is the fourth seal: “The Lamb broke the fourth seal, and I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come.’ I looked, and behold, an ashen horse”—this is the pale green horse—“and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades”—or the grave—“[followed Death]. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill.” Fourth of the earth—there are eight billion people in the world, and in the first three and a half years of the Tribulation there will be the death of two billion people.

How is that possible? Well, it’s possible, you could say, by nuclear weapons. But still, it would be pretty hard to get at two billion even that way. There are other ways to do it, and here they are: “To kill with sword”—that would be weapons, military weapons symbolized by that—“and with famine”—that’s another way—“and with pestilence”—and that is a way that we are becoming very familiar with. They can kill people by fabricating a vaccine that they can’t refuse and injecting them with whatever they want to inject them. They can kill with germ warfare. They can go into the lab, and they can do gain-of-function research and produce something that really is a global catastrophe. They can unleash all kinds of pestilence.

Twenty million died in the flu epidemics of World War I. Seventeen million died in the fraudulent COVID epidemic of the last few years. Two hundred million were killed by typhus in four centuries. There’s all kinds of ways.

And then, “wild beasts,” wild beasts roaming the earth, probably looking for food in some measure. Do you know what the most deadly creature on earth is? Probably surprise you. You probably don’t want to know, but I’m going to tell you. A rat. A rat. Rats are annually responsible for the loss of billions of dollars of food in America alone. Rats infested with bubonic plague killed one-third of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century. I read this week that if 95 percent of the rat population is exterminated in a given area, 95 percent, it will reproduce and replace itself in one year.

War, famine. You can throw in earthquakes and the rats running wild. Awesome, divine judgment. And that hasn’t even gotten to the trumpet judgments or the bowl judgments, which are even worse. The saints begin to feel this, so—as we’ll see next time—in the fifth seal, they’re crying out to the Lord because they’re being persecuted, and asking Him, “How long, Lord? How long will You let this go on?”

And then in the sixth seal—and we’ll look at that as well in a couple of weeks—the world finally gets the picture. “The kings of the earth”—verse 15, this is in the sixth seal—“the great men, the commanders, the rich, the strong, every slave, every free man”—the whole world—begins to hide “in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and [crying] to the mountains and the rocks.” So you’ve got the saints crying to God, and you’ve got the population of the world crying to the rocks. Why? “Fall on us, [rocks, to] hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” They finally know what’s happening. It is divine judgment, divine judgment.

This is the great day of wrath that is coming. There’s nothing about it that would be impossible in our world today. In ancient times you couldn’t possibly kill a fourth of the population of the world with bows and arrows and swords. Killing a fourth of the population of the world today, we understand that and how that could happen. All these things that are featured in these prophecies are possibilities in the world in which we live, and that means that the rapture of the church is very near, and you want to make sure you’re in Christ, right? Let’s pray.

Father, we thank You for again the truth which prevails over all the deception, all the lies, all the error. We know we are being deceived, we are being lied to. We know corrupt, satanically inspired people and systems dominate this world. The whole world lies in the lap of the evil one. We know that nothing is what it appears to be on the surface because Satan always disguises himself as an angel of light. We know that the judgment is coming; and while it is the work of Satan that is being unleashed, it is at the same time the judgment of God. You unleash Satan, Antichrist, and all the rest of this as Your judgment.

Lord, we thank You that You have rescued us from the wrath to come because You have placed us into Christ, into the body of Christ, into the church, which will be safely rescued out of the hour of trouble that comes on the earth. We thank You for the salvation that You’ve given us, and we pray, Lord, that You will help us to warn those around us of what is coming. That’s the reason this is revealed to us.

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