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WORLD IN BIBLE PROPHECY
NEXT PROPHESIED EVENTS
We see that end time events have already started taking place. After we entered the time of no delay any longer, the very first prophecy has already been fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled every week through the author’s weekly messages broadcast by God’s angels to every human being on earth in his or her own language. The prophesied events to follow can now start any time.
The message of the book of Revelation was given by God the Father, the Supreme Ruler of the universe, to Jesus Christ who then sent it to the apostle John through His angel, as indicated in Revelation 1:1: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants - things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John."
The message was contained in a scroll, sealed with seven seals. Revelation 5:1-5, 7 (NKJV): "And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth [meaning those that are dead and buried] was able to open
the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah [Jesus Christ], the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals." Then Verse 7: "Then He [Jesus Christ] came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne."
Only Jesus Christ is worthy to open each of the seven seals and reveal their messages. Opening of each of the seals reveals events that will take place sequentially. Remember only Jesus Christ is worthy to reveal the messages as each of the seven seals is opened. In fact, even before His death, Jesus Christ had given the keys to understanding the seals. These keys are recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Jesus' disciples
asked Him what would be the sign of His second coming and the end of the age.
Matthew 24:3-8 [NKJV): "Now 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 of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
Jesus here gave four conditions that will occur sequentially: 1) Many usurping His name and calling themselves Christians in order to deceive many; 2) Wars and rumors of wars on a global scale; 3) Then follow the consequences of global warfare - famines on a mass scale; and finally 4) Mass famines resulting in disease and death on a huge scale. But He said these are just the beginning of sorrows. It is going to get much worse from then on. As we shall see, these four conditions in sequence correspond to the first four seals of Revelation 6.
Now let us see what is revealed by the seven seals.
The First Seal - Religious Deception
Revelation 6:1-2 (NKJV): "Now I saw when the Lamb [another name for Jesus Christ] opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, "Come and see." And 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."
Here is pictured the first event to take place. Revelation 19:11-16 (NKJV) pictures another rider on a white horse: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns...and His name is called the Word of God [another name for Jesus Christ]...Now out of His mouth goes a
sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron...And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords" [another name for Jesus Christ].
The rider on the white horse here is Jesus Christ at His return to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The rider in Revelation 6 bears some similarity to Christ at His return. He is riding a white horse and has a crown. But there are significant differences in the details. Christ is wearing many crowns whereas this rider has only one crown. Jesus has a sword as a weapon whereas this rider has a bow. So does this rider symbolize
the real Christ or a false 'savior'? The word used for crown in Revelation 6:2 is the Greek word stephanos, which refers to a crown worn by a victor
such as in games. So the rider on the white horse wears his crown gained by victory in war. In contrast the word used for crowns in Revelation 19:12 is the Greek word Diadema, the plural of diadem, which means a royal crown, as a royal son, a prince, gains by inheritance from his father.
Remember only Jesus Christ is worthy to reveal the messages as each of the seven seals is opened. So what did Jesus reveal to His disciples about the first condition that would occur before His return? Many will come in His name (i.e. usurping His name), calling themselves Christian and deceive many. It’s the many that are deceived.
In fact deception in Jesus' name started soon after the Church was founded in 31 A.D. The many have been deceived. The true Christians have always been a 'small flock' (Luke 12:32). Then what is so significant about this deception?
The significance of this religious deception is the total global scope of it. It takes place at every level. When discussing this issue, Jesus warned His disciples: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying I am the Christ, and will deceive many." (Matthew 24:4-5). The 'you' in the message signifies that it is addressed mainly to Jesus' disciples (or God's true Church), and the descendants of Israel to a lesser
extent (as the disciples were all Israelites) that there will be all out attempts to deceive the Church of God. Jesus warned the members of His true Church to take heed so that they are not deceived.
Satan's agents have infiltrated the true Church of God and caused many divisions. The Church is now divided into more than a hundred different organizations. Many of these congregations differ in their beliefs to one degree or another. Only a few are adhering to the faith 'restored' by God through the end time Elijah - Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA). [God had prophesied in Malachi 4:5-6 that before the end of man’s age He would send a
prophet in the spirit of the ancient Elijah the prophet: “5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD [meaning the Lord’s Day as described later]: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Jesus also prophesied in Matthew 17:11: “11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things.” God sent Mr. Armstrong in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet who restored all the true doctrines to God’s Church in fulfillment of these prophecies.]
Tens of thousands of former members, in fulfillment of the message of the first seal, no longer attend Church. The message of the first seal says: 'The rider on the white horse "went out conquering and to conquer." He has conquered much in God's Church already, but is not finished yet. He will continue to conquer in God's Church (the 'and to conquer' part of the message of the first seal) right till the return of Jesus Christ as we shall see later.
The rider on the white horse has already conquered 'the many' with false religion. In fact, virtually all of humanity has been deceived. All religions (including all denominations of Christianity except the 'small flock' consisting of God's true Church) are false religions. This, however, is nothing new. What will be astounding will be the 'and to conquer' part of the fulfillment in this area. Jesus explained this in Matthew 24:24 (NKJV): "For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect."
This shows that many false christs (or 'saviors') and false prophets will arise in the future working great miracles. The deception will be so great that even some members of God's Church could be carried away if they are not paying heed to Jesus' warning. The culmination of this deception will be the work of the false prophet, described in Revelation 13:11, 13-14 (NKJV): "Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon."
Horns in prophecy signify rulership. Lamb is another name for Jesus Christ and dragon is another name for Satan. So this beast has two horns, signifying religious and civil authority like a lamb (meaning he is appropriating the name of Christ) but speaks like a dragon, or Satan. Is there a religious authority in the world that calls itself Christian that is at the same time a civil authority? In fact, there is one, the only one in the world. It is the Church of Rome - the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican is a state that sends out ambassadors to many nations of the world and receives their ambassadors. The pope sits on a throne and wears a crown. It is also the largest Christian denomination. So this beast has two horns, acts like a representative of Jesus Christ, but speaks like Satan. Thus the false prophet will be a pope working great signs and miracles in the future, and
deceiving many on earth (verse 14).
Revelation 13:13-14 describes how this beast will deceive the world: "He [the beast] performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do..."
At present, though most of the world is deceived by false religions, many are not deeply involved in religion. In fact, many are irreligious. But this miracle working false prophet will garner worldwide attention and actively deceive most on earth into following his religion. He gets his power from Satan [the dragon] to work these miracles. Most in Israelite countries are not deceived by this false prophet at present. But when he starts working miracles in the near future, the whole world will be carried away by his deception. The conquest of the symbolic rider of the white horse will then be nearly total.
The rider of the white horse has already fulfilled another aspect of the message. Satan masquerades as a 'savior' like Jesus Christ. He also has a way of life or 'religion'. God's way of life can be contrasted with Satan's way of life in Herbert W. Armstrong's words as the way of 'give' versus the way of 'get'. God's way is the way of loving, forgiving, caring, sharing and giving; the way of 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'; the way of 'it's better to give than to receive'. In contrast, Satan's way is the way of hating your enemy, never forgetting and forgiving, getting, competition, greed, taking by lying or deception; the way of 'do unto others before they do it unto you'; and getting ahead by any and all means, or any which way you can.
Until recently most of humanity believed that Satan was a myth. Only perhaps the Germans knew of his existence for sure because he dealt with them closely. Satan has a counterfeit to God's way of dealing with humanity. God tries to work first through Israelites to mold them into a model nation so that the world can learn from their example and follow God's way. Likewise, Satan deals with the Germans as his model nation so that the world can
learn from them and follow their example in Satan's way.
Only recently has the world become sure of Satan's existence. That is when Satan 'went out conquering,' like the rider of the white horse. Nations and people within nations allied with the Germans have inquired about Satan and his philosophy from them. The Germans have revealed Satan's way to them. Many of these nations and peoples have quickly bought into Satan's philosophy and way of life, because it matches their human nature, and
by following it have gained much material wealth by stealing from Israelite nations. So Satan 'went out conquering,' and he has conquered many nations with his false religion (or way of life). He will also fulfill the other part of the message: 'and to conquer,' particularly when the false prophet begins performing miracles. He will continue doing this till the return of Jesus Christ until he is bound in chains and sent to the abyss (or 'bottomless pit').
The rider of the white horse, symbolizing false religion and way of life has thus already been riding furiously. He has already fulfilled the prophecy in the message of the first seal.
The Second Seal - Global Warfare
Revelation 6:3-4 (NKJV): "When He [Jesus Christ] opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come and see." And another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword."
This horse, blood red in color corresponds to Christ's second warning: "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars...Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Matthew 24:6-7 NKJV).
We have had two bloody wars in the first half of the 20th century. Approximately 15-20 million people died in the First World War and close to 60 million died in the Second World War. But these two wars will pale in comparison to what is going to be unleashed on the world by the rider of the red horse. The furious ride of the red horse is the next event prophesied in the message of the second seal. The Church of God does not set specific dates for specific events because Jesus said in Mark 13:22 (NKJV): "But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son [Jesus Himself], but only the Father." But as shown earlier, prophecy indicates that there is to be delay no longer. Therefore, this world war is very near to fulfillment.
From now on Israel (USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) and the state of Israel are the primary targets of this warfare. The reason is that nations want to eliminate competition from Israel for capturing world markets and resources, and want to become the dominant economies of the world themselves. They also covet Israel's land, agricultural, water and mineral resources.
Three military alliances are soon going to form in the world in addition to the Israelite alliance (consisting of the USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South African whites and the state of Israel). But since the Israelite Alliance is the only target, most of the nations will be allied in the cause to bring it down in military defeat. This does not mean that all countries that are ultimately going to form into three alliances will be united in this war. But many will be. The three military alliances will be discussed as the sequence of prophesied events is explained.
Jesus indicated that in this war, 'nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom'. This may mean that when Israelite countries are engaged in warfare, many countries feel free to settle their differences or old scores with other nations through war. So this could truly be a worldwide war.
The Third Seal - Famines
Revelation 6:5-6 (New International Version-NIV): "When the Lamb opened the third seal...I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, 'A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine."
This seal corresponds to Jesus' third warning: "And there will be famines..." (Matthew 24:7). This seal portrays extreme scarcity of food and basic necessities of life. These are the natural result of widespread war. Remember the second seal mentions "that people should kill one another." The intent of people is to kill one another by any and all means. So they will be engaged in destruction of enemy property, agricultural lands and means of production. In addition, modern weapons will contribute to the destruction of land so that it is unfit for cultivation.
The Fourth Seal - Death from Sickness and Disease
Revelation 6:7-8 (NIV): "When the Lamb opened the fourth seal...I looked, and there before me was a pale [sickly looking] horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades [the grave] was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth."
This seal describes the natural consequences of famines. Because of scarcity of food, there will be a general breakdown of order in society. There will be a massive number of deaths due to starvation, the resulting sickness and disease epidemics and violence that results from breakdown in law and order due to scarcity of necessities of life. When there is scarcity of food, wild animals and vicious domestic animals let loose to survive on their own will form packs to attack and kill humans. This seal corresponds to Jesus' warning about the fourth condition - 'pestilence', or deadly epidemics of diseases (Matthew 24:7).
The end result of the furious ride of the first (religious deception – we see murders of Christians, Jews and Muslims at the hands of Islamists as another fulfillment), second (sword or war), third (famine) and fourth (plague) horses is that a fourth of the earth's population will be killed. Currently the world's population is estimated to be slightly above 7 billion people. This prophecy thus indicates that more than 1.75 billion people will die in these events. Wild beasts will also contribute to these deaths. Truly the First and Second World Wars will appear to be small battles in comparison to this global war. But remember, Jesus said "All these are [just] the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8). Much worse is yet to follow. Then from Matthew 24:9 and onwards Jesus described what would take place in the Great Tribulation. In Revelation, that is what the fifth seal mentions. But no details about the Great Tribulation are provided in the message of the fifth seal. Jesus and the prophets before Him and the apostles after Him filled in those details.
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