Peace on the Road
By Phil Winfield
Bible Text: Revelation 3:10, Isaiah 9:6-7
Preached on: Sunday, May 9, 2004
Grace Church of Des Moines, IA
4200 E. 25th Street
Des Moines, IA 50317
Online Sermons: http://gracehome.sermonaudio.com
You have your Bibles open to Revelation chapter three and verse 10. Let me just read that verse we kicked off with last week. “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”
We began this lesson last Sunday night and was not able to finish it and we are going to pick up where we left off, but we told you to underline that little phrase where it says, “Those who live on the earth” or the earth dwellers, those people who live in this world.
And just this week talking about sign posts on the road, talking about the road ahead it was interesting. I don’t know how many of you either saw it on the internet or read it in the newspaper about those 10 new nations that joined the European Union, all of those 10 real small, Lithuania and all those nations. How many of you read that article in the paper? Did you see that? Did you? That is very interesting.
Somebody is going to say, “Well, pastor, if 10 nations joined, how many are in there?”
Well, there’s a lot of nations that are in there and those 10 nations that joined were all one block nation at the time of the writing of the book of the Revelation. And when we talk about those 10 horns or those 10 powers that are going to be present during the time of tribulation or during the time of the antichrist, when we talk about those 10 we are talking about the 10 nations that will be the revived Roman Empire, those 10 that were in existence at the time of this writing. There may be 20, 30, 40. It doesn’t make any difference at our time because when we get to that time it is going to refer to the same areas, the same ancient nations that were alive and well at the time of the Roman Empire.
And so I thought that was very interesting that they were meeting in Belfast, Northern Ireland and that there was a president of the European Union, the nations that make up the European Union that was… He was taking care of and he was the moderator for all that was going on and they called him the president. Well, I really zeroed in on that and read it very carefully.
Evidently they already have a president of the European Union or the European Common Market. They already have a president, but he only serves for one year. And so in order to just spread around this dignified position of being president of the European Market they change it every year and so this year it happens to be Belfast and the person is someone from Ireland. Next year it could be from Holland. The next year it could be from who knows, who knows where, France, some other place. And they keep moving it around.
But they already have the apparatus in place for there to be a one world government, for there to be a government there in that area of the world and the person will be called, I’m sure, he is going to be elected as president of that European Union and then from that position he will launch is world domination.
We talked about the fact that on the road ahead there is living on the road ahead is going to be very, very difficult. There is something other than an earth only option for people. We have already talked about vanishing from the road, being raptured by the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ or the voice of the archangel, the trumpet of God, the shout of Jesus, those that know the Lord rising up to meet him in the air. We saw that in 1 Thessalonians chapter four, 2 Thessalonians chapter two. We talked about that and other places that we talked about.
Last week we talked about the fact that the world was going to be in tremendous desperation and terrible tribulation and under total condemnation and I want to pick up where we left off. We talked about the tremendous desperation and now, then, I want to talk about the fact that we are going… that the world… that everyone is going to find themselves in terrible tribulation. We talked about the one world ruler, the one world government and its ruler the antichrist that takes all sorts of steps to fill the void of leadership in the world that is going to be created by the absence of so many Christians whenever the rapture and that he is going to be a diplomat. He is going to be charismatic, an autocrat, a despotic and finally psychotically demonic leader that is going to lead the world.
The world… the people that are living on the road, they were happy that all of the Christians exited the world. They are going to be excited about it. We have finally thrown off all their rules, all their regulations. We have gotten rid of them and now we are going to do what we want to do.
Well, the traded the rule of God and the rule of reason for the rule of a tyrant and they thought they were going to throw off restraint, but now they are under the authority of a satanically controlled maniac.
Matthew 24:21. “For then there will be great distress [or tribulation], unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.”
The Bible predicts there are going to be a period of time on earth, brief, but intense. It will be a time of tribulation and it is going to be an awful existence for those that have chosen this world. We have already talked about the fact that the antichrist will rule politically. He is going to rule economically. He is going to rule religiously. I emphasized that with these verses in Revelation 13:4. “Men worshipped the dragon.” Revelation 13:9. They worshipped the beast. Revelation 13:11. They worshipped the beast whose fatal wound was healed. Revelation 13:15. They worshipped the image of the beast. If they didn’t they were killed. And it is all about the devil’s insatiable desire to be worshipped as God.
And this does not start in the period of the tribulation. This doesn’t just begin. This has been Satan’s desire ever since day one when he wasn’t called Satan. He was called Lucifer. He was the bright one, the shining one. He was the prince of the morning. He was the chief musician of heaven and Lucifer means luminary. He was the light of that place and he became so desirous, he became so enamored with himself that he desired the very position of God and he tried to take it over.
He said, “I am going to take God’s place.”
And God said, “No, you won’t.”
Now in chapter… In verse nine of chapter 14 which is where we left off last week. I want you to jump over there and I want you to see something very, very important, Revelation chapter 14 and verse nine. This is very, very important.
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
Notice that it says in chapter 13 it went on and on about the demand to worship. If you are going to live in this world you are going to have to worship the beast. If you are going to remain on this road you are going to keep following this path, if you put all your eggs in this world, if Jesus comes and takes away his children and if they go off into eternity for a period where there is going to be a period of judgment called the bema seat and also the marriage supper of the lamb and while they are gone if a person chooses to be in this world, then they are going to be forced to take the economic program, the political program and the religious program of the beast. And the beast or the antichrist is going to desire worship. Worship me. Worship me politically, worship me economically and worship me religiously. I am your God.
Make no mistake about it. Any religion will be fine as long as you give ultimate authority to the beast, to this one.
But the Bible says here in chapter 14 there at verse number nine that that is the fatal mistake, that anyone that receives this mark, if they receive it, then they have just condemned themselves.
Since I have started this series, I have had conversations with many of you. And many of you have said, “Well, what if somebody took that thing unwillingly? What if somebody… What if they do come up with this microchip thing that you are talking about or some other away and they just start injecting people with these microchips and they just do it indiscriminately whether you want…how about when they are born? A child is born.
No. That is very important that you understand that word “receive” there in verse number nine. You just key in on that word. The word “receive” speaks of an attitude. It means to rush forward and take the mark. It means to be the first to be in line. It means to be desirous of taking the mark.
Well, somebody would say, “Well, man, when this thing all starts unfolding and it becomes obvious that you have got a person that wants to be the single ruler of the world, why in the world would they ever line up to take the mark? Why would they want to do that? Why wouldn’t they rebel when they understand that?”
Well, it is very simple. It is because of the money. I said this at the end last week, that it is all about the economy just like a former president said, “It is the economy, stupid.” And at that period of time that is exactly the reason that people are going to make this choice. It is about the money. Many of the people, many of those that are alive at that time are going to be into money just like people that are alive right now. The true God, the true worship is toward money itself and the power and the prosperity and the acquiring power that one gets if he is able to wield great amounts of money.
The day and age of which we live in there are many, many people that are willing to sacrifice anything in order to acquire, in order to get more, in order to just be able to have more at their disposal. Well, it is going to be exactly the same way during the tribulation.
People are going to say, “Well, if that is the economy, if that is the way things work, just show me the ground rules and if that is the ground rules, then just tell me where to sign. Where do I get that mark? Show me where to get it?”
And they are going to line up because their real god is money. It is no mistake that Jesus said in the New Testament that you cannot serve God and what? Money, because I want to tell you that the greatest god in the world today, the greatest god—unknowingly they are worshipping Satan—but the greatest god in this world is the god of acquisition. It is the ability to buy. It is reduced to money.
And I said this at the end. Maybe you weren’t here last week. Woe be unto the Christian that makes all of his decisions, whether they are political, whether they are locational, whether they are relational, you make your decisions on the basis of money. If you make your decisions on the basis of a raise or able to continue to climb some corporate ladder, you are falling into the exact same thing that is going to motivate people to follow the beast during the time of the tribulation.
There are more important things in this world than how much money a person can make and the ability to acquire.
You say, “Do you hate money?”
No. I don’t hate money, but I tell you one thing. I don’t want to worship money and let money become what motivates me more than anything else.
Now I want you to know that in the United States of America today the number one political… the number one political consideration in our country is not the issue of abortion, it is not the issue of same sex marriage, it is not the issue of external influences on America, internal corruption. Those are not the issues that are motivating people to vote in this day and age. Coming up this November when we are going to be voting for president, people… the majority, not all, but the majority of Americans are going to vote themselves, they are going to vote according to their pocketbook. They are going to vote according to what looks like it is going to come out best for them.
Why? Because money is everything.
“Amen, pastor Phil. You are telling the truth.”
Are you listening tonight? I am talking to Christians tonight who make decisions based on increase.
You say, “Should I never take a raise? Should I never move from one…”
I am never going to say that. But I am going to say if you take… If you do what you do based only and solely on increase, you take your family away from a good place, a good church, good schools, good neighborhoods, good… You take them away. Move… You know, Lot made the same kind of decision.
Do you remember Lot? Do you remember Lot? What did Lot do? Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. He moved closer and closer and before you knew it he was living right in Sodom. He wanted influence in Sodom. He wanted power in Sodom. He wanted money in Sodom and he sacrificed his wife and his children. In order to have influence in Sodom, he gave up influence in his own family.
Be careful. Be very, very careful as a Christian not to fall into the same mentality, even before the tribulation period and I am afraid that it has infected Christianity just like it has infected the rest of the world. These things we are… As we look at this we are only scratching the surface of all the things that are going to go on during the tribulation period. This is the time of Jacob’s trouble. It is the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy.
And, but I want to give you a further glimpse tonight of what it will be like to live on the road and I mentioned it just as we got… Just all I did was just mention the phrase, the fact that there are going to be horses on the road down the road ahead for those that decide to stay in this world and I want us to look at that, so turn in your Bibles to Revelation chapter six. I have heard so many sermons on this passage and I have read so many books. There is so much allegory out there and people try to say, “Well, you know, we don’t know exactly what is going to happen, but it does look bad. Maybe it has already happened. Maybe it is in the past. Maybe it is in the future.”
I want to tell you that Revelation chapter one says that he was revealing to John the things that had to come shortly. They were in the future, things that had to happen. They have not happened as of that time. And as we look at the world and we look at history we know that not all of these things have happened yet.
I want you to look at chapter six of Revelation. Let me read for you verses one and two. It says, “I watched as the Lamb…” talking about Jesus, “…opened the first of the seven seals.”
I had better describe and better explain that word seven seals. You see, there was a scroll that was in the hand of one that stood before he that was sitting on the throne. This is back in chapters four and five. There was a scroll that was sealed with seven seals or it was tied up seven times. And these seals were on the scroll and inside the scroll were the final judgments, the judgments of God on this world. And so this angel stood there and cried with a loud voice and said, “Who is worthy to open the book or to loose the seals of this scroll and to loose the judgments that are inside?”
And John said, “I wept much because no one was found worthy to open the seals.” He cried. He wept about it. Nobody was there. Nobody was there in heaven. The rapture had happened. There were believers everywhere. They were all around the throne. They had been worshipping, they had been worshipping people from every nation, from every tongue. They are there, but the cry goes out. “Who is worthy to open the seals and to pour out the judgment on the world? Who is worthy to do that?”
And John wept much.
Why would he weep about that? Well, maybe the emotion of the moment. Maybe it is because he felt that God’s will was being thwarted, that God wanted to judge, but there was nobody that could do it. I think he was weeping for two reasons. I think he was weeping because he knew that he was in the presence of such awesome power that when judgment started no one was going to be able to detain it. And the very fact that God was going to judge the world shocked him to the bottom of his soul.
The second thing is, is perhaps he was thinking about his own situation. You know, first century tradition tells us that John had already been boiled in oil by this time and somehow had lived through it. And maybe he was thinking about his persecutors. Maybe hew as thinking about how all of the other apostles had been killed, crucified, maimed, thrown to the lions. Maybe he was thinking about… This is late in the first century now. Maybe he had seen the thousands and thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of martyrs that had been killed. They had been used as torches to light Nero’s garden. He had seen all kinds of things. They had been thrown to the lions. They had been painted with pitch and thrown out on fire in front of the lions. They had been put in sheets. They had taken sheep’s clothing and wrapped it around those little children and pushed them out into the Coliseum so that the lions would rip them to pieces. He is seeing all these things.
Maybe the very thought of the fact that no one was found worthy to open the seals of judgment disturbed him the other way. “God, when are you going to judge? When are you going to finally put an end to all of these things that are happening to your children in the world?”
Who knows he was crying? But he was crying because no one was found worthy.
Well, then one step forward like a lamb slain before the foundation of the world. He was King of Kings and Lord of Lords and he took the roll out of his hand. And what you see here in chapter six is the only person in all of the world that has the right to judge this world. Think about that for a moment. Who was found worthy to judge?
You know, sometimes I think that we are going to bring a political solution because we think we are going to bring a political solution. We are going to vote in the right political party or the right person and they are going to put things in order and that is going to be the end of it. Or it is going to judge evil and evil is just going to go away or we are just going to… We are going to rise up at the grass roots level in America. We are going to change this nation, change the future. We should get involved in every single way that we can, but do not put your hopes in political change, in revolution in this world changing the essence of what this world is. It is not going to happen.
And I want you to know that there is not a human being on planet earth that is worthy to judge this world.
How many of you would like to play God for a day?
Well, I think sometimes we get in our head, boy, if I were God I would, but do you know what? If we were God we would mess it up because we would start judging immediately and we would judge the wrong people because we cannot see people’s hearts. We do not know the motives. We do not know what is inside of people. We do not know why they do what they do. We do not have a clue as to what their paradigm has been, what their life has been. We don’t know everything.
But I will tell you who does know how to judge and who can judge with righteousness, with mercy and compassion all at the same time. Do you know who can judge? God can judge and he has chosen to give that judgment to his pure Son Jesus Christ who came and suffered all that heaven and hell both could throw at him on the cross. He died. He was buried and he rose again triumphant over death, hell and the grave and he is the judge.
Do you understand that Jesus is going to judge this world? He is going to take that scroll out of his hand and here is what is going to happen.
“I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures…” That’s a future study “…say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”
You say, “Pastor, what is this white horse and who is the rider?”
Well, this white horse always speaks of victory. A white horse back in the time of Napoleon every time he showed up on the battle field he would show up with a horse of victory riding it. It speaks of peace. When an army wanted terms of peace in the Roman days they would ride out on a white horse and seek the terms of that peace. It speaks of the conqueror as I mentioned, the custom of the conquerors like Napoleon which would ride through the battle field with their banners flying on either side on a white horse announcing that they were the conqueror.
It has a rider. Notice that this rider has a crown on his head. The word is a stefanov (stef’-an-os) and that word is the victor’s crown, the winner, the one who has conquered. He gets to wear that crown.
And then I want you to notice something else about it that is a little bit disturbing. Let me read it to you. “I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”
So you have this white horse representing victory. You have a conqueror wearing a conqueror’s crown and he is riding out speaking of peace, carrying a bow. He carries a bow, but it is interesting that this is a bow without any arrows. Immediately… the immediate problem after the rapture of the church will be a need for world leadership. A lot of people think that this rider on here, this white horse, why that’s Jesus we think. Why he is riding out…
No. If you want to read about the white horse that Jesus is going to be riding and the true victor’s crown and of the thousands and myriads of millions that are going to ride with him, you have got to flip over to chapter 19 and read about that. This is another person. This is the instead of Christ. This is the supplanter. This is the one that is taking his place. He is not the Christ. He is the antichrist. That is who the rider is on this white horse.
Notice this. After the rapture, after the rapture of the Church the world is going to be in need for leadership. We talked about this. The rider is not Jesus bringing peace, but the antichrist bringing false peace.
“And how will anyone believe in him?” you might ask.
Just like they believe in what we call peace in our time before World War II. And in 1938 Adolf Hitler was promising peace the whole time that he was making war. Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minster of England assured his people that there was nothing to worry about. “We can trust this man,” talking about Hitler.
And when Poland fell it was too late. Even Winston Churchill was shouted down in parliament when he suggested that Hitler was a fraud.
You say, “How can people follow the antichrist?”
How did they follow Hitler? They followed him.
The antichrist will conquer with peace.
Daniel chapter nine and verse 27 says he is going to make a… he is going to make a pact of peace. The most marvellous peace, the most marvelous accomplishment of this antichrist will be that in short order he is going to settle the problems in the Middle East. Somehow he is going to convince the Arabs to step back, tear down the mosque of Omar, or better yet that building that is there where the mosque of Omar used to be, take that thing down and they are going to rebuild the temple and all of the sudden the daily sacrifices are going to start again and all of this is going to happen in a short time. The antichrist is going to make a peace pact with Israel. He is going to back away all the other nations and all of the sudden there is going to be peace in the Middle East.
And he is on a white horse. He shows military strength. He promises that he has military strength, but he has no arrows. He is promising not to use it. He is a liar.
That leads to a second horse. Now listen to me. There are horses on the road ahead. The first horse is a liar. The first horse promises peace, but he is getting ready to make war. The first horse is a false peace, a false ruler, a false Christ and that is who comes, the first one on the scene on the road ahead.
Then notice something else. He is followed in verse number there and four by a red horse.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.
A red horse. This read horse typifies war and fighting and the color red is the color of fire and blood. Notice that this guy, this rider has a large sword or a macaira (makh’-ahee-rah). It is a stabbing sword. It is a large, but short, strong sword of the Roman army that they were able to get inside of all other defenses and while the Turks and others were swinging the long sword with this short, large, wide blade sword that could cut both ways and get inside and stab them. And he is going to take peace from the earth. Who is? This rider on the red horse. He is coming. He is going to destroy the world.
Is it actually that the antichrist turns red? I don’t know. Did the first horse become the second horse? No. I believe that his promises are broken and when he breaks his promise at the three and a half year point all that he had been trying to keep his hands on top of beaks loose and this world becomes chaotic to the degree that it has never seen before. This rider is going to take peace from the earth. Men are going to slay one another. One can only imagine the slaughter that will occur when we think in terms of the machines of war available today.
You know, we are very good at inventing things. We are unbelievable at making the machines of war. If we…it is often said and rightly so that if we could put the same effort at saving life as we do at destroying life we might could do something in this world. But, you see, you don’t gain power in the world by saving lives. You gain power in the world by eliminating your enemy. And so we have made all kinds of machines of war, weapons of mass destruction are available to the highest bidder.
Somebody said, I was reading not long ago that we are able at this point to destroy the world, destroy this world 50 times over with what we have in store in the weapons of mass destruction even at this place.
Chemical warfare is not a question, but it is a probability in today’s world.
We had an anthrax scare back in the first Gulf War. It was mentioned again now in this recent war. There are all kinds of chemical agents that people are talking about and biological agents that people are talking about that could cause these problems.
Notice that this is originated in the heart of men.
Look, if you would, please, verse three again.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.
Men slaying each other.
You say, “What is the problem here?”
Well, the salt is gone. The light is gone. The restraining hand of the Holy Spirit is gone. A false peace has arrived. Unlimited, unfettered freedom has been announced. Do what you want, when you want, how you want, where you want. It is all up to you. You just do it as long you just follow our economic system and as long as you give final allegiance to the beast. Do what you will.
Did you ever think that we were now living in the days, once again, of the judges just like they were in the book of Judges in the Old Testament where every man did that which was right in his own eyes? Do you get the idea that that is pretty much where we are headed right now in the United States where people want to live and just do what is right according to them? A person has got to make his own destiny, got to make his own life. He has got to decide what is right and wrong.
Well, if that is happening right now before the Christians of the world are taken out, the Holy Spirit is absent in his restraining power, the salt, the light goes out. If that is happening right now, what is going to happen in the heart of men when it is every man for himself, every woman for herself, when it is everyone against everyone else. Men will slay each other. It is horrible.
But there is something else. There is another horse on the road and I want you to look at this one. This is a black horse. So we have seen a white horse, a red horse and now a black horse.
Look, if you would, at verse five.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” 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!”
So we have got another rider now and he is on a black horse. He has got scales in his hand and he is talking about the rationing of food.
What is the natural result of world wide war? What is going to be the natural result of… I mean you have got bombs blowing up. Is there going to be any sowing and reaping?
You know, right now here we are in Iowa. This is the… one of the most productive if not the most productive spots on planet earth with all of the… the… the fertile land that we have around. You see the tractors going back and forth. What if bombs were dropping right now around Iowa? What if they were… What if men were slaying each other? What… Do you think there would be a… Would there be time for planting and for harvest and for taking care of the weeds? Is there going to be time for that?
No. In those kinds of… In those kinds of times people starve. As many people die from starvation and from disease as they do from anything else. The natural result of world wide war will be the problem of sowing and reaping. There will be so little time for regular labor because so many will be watching out from their lives.
A voice went from heaven. It said something very interesting. “A days wags for a man’s meal. One meal, a full day’s wages.” Famine, hunger and devastation begin to run rampant all over the world. Can we not see the horror? Can you not see that everyone will be weeping in starvation during the war?
You say, “Well, we are having those kind of things right now in North Korea, Somalia.”
Yes, we are. People are dying even as I stand here tonight of hunger around the world, not because there is not food to feed them, but because the political situations that won’t allow it happen. There are people in Hindu countries, in India, for instance, that are starving to death because of the wrong religion. It happens… People are starving today, but it doesn’t have to be that way. But in that day there will be no choice. Famine, hunger, devastation.
But it says something interesting. “Don’t damage the oil and the wine.” Oil and wine have always been a reprehensive in the Bible of prosperity, of the blessing of God on people. Don’t damage the oil and the wine. Well, there is going to… The lifestyles of the rich and famous during that time are going to be safeguarded for a time because there is a little bit of refuge in money. And oil and wine were symbols of this blessing and abundance in the Old Testament and also in the New Testament.
The strong will guard their own and will insulate themselves as much as they can. We found and I read recently that Hitler would… used to demand chocolates every day and the elite would go to the opera as the bombs were falling in London during some of the most severe times during World War II because the…don’t damage the oil and the wine. And so these… During this period of time there is going to be starvation. There is going to be hunger. There is going to be people that are just dropping in the streets because they can’t make it. But because there is no compassion and there is no mercy and there is no one with a light and there is no salt in the world because the Christians are gone and there is not anybody speaking out with a voice of reason, those who have will say to those who have not, “It is just not your day and you are just not going to be able to get anything. Stay away from me.” And they will hire those people to protect their goods. That is only going to last for a while.
I want you to know there is another horse on the road. Look at it. It is a pale horse. Look, if you would, please, there and let’s read the following.
In verse number seven:
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades 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.
Now just think what your Bible says in front of you right now. We have seen the progression. First is a false peace. Then when that peace is broken all out war all over the world of every sort and of every kind. Men slaying each other break out. No time for planting. No time for harvesting. No time for regular, nominal, normal labor from day to day. No time for that.
And so men are at each other’s throat. People are… The food is rationed and people who have… even people who have the food have to put soldiers out around their home to make sure that nobody comes to take what they have. But that is only going to last for a while. And it is going to be followed by the pale horse, an ashen or sickly yellow, green in color signifying the decomposition of the dead. He has a ghastly rider, death. And death sounds so final.
The combination of war, famine, sickness and the attack of the beasts of the earth take a horrendous toll. It says that one fourth of the world’s population will die as a result of these four horses.
“How many people is that, pastor?”
1.4 billion roughly. That’s a lot of people, 1.4 billion. Or how about tonight if one out of every four persons that are in this auditorium died before they left? What if one fourth of everyone that lived in the city of Des Moines died tomorrow? Or what if one fourth of the population of the state, one fourth of America, 280 million, 285 million people, what if a fourth of them just died because of these horrible diseases, famine, war, sword? That’s a lot of people.
They died there because of this pale horse.
You see, the world will get exactly what it wants. It is going to get a world without rules, one without restraints, but what they envisioned as utopia soon turns to sheer horror.
You see, man without God is a vicious murderer. Man without God is a vicious murderer.
Jeremiah 16:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Matthew 15:19. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” And these are horses that are on the road ahead.
I hear the talk of peace for the world and Europe they are talking for that… I said before this European president. I read there about those 10… mentioned those 10 new countries that are beginning to… that have joined the European Union. They are clamoring for these things. And I want you to know that these are sign posts on the road, but there are horses on the road ahead.
We see the wars and we see that they are ever on the increase. I don’t know about you, but I have been totally disgusted by the photos that have been shown of what good old American soldiers and service men have done over there in that country. And I don’t care who is responsible for it.
Well, they are higher up.
I don’t care who did it whether higher ups or the lower downs. It doesn’t make any difference. It is absolute… It is an absolute pathetic commentary on the United States of America that they could go over and have something sexual going on with prisoners in a camp like that. Do you know what that tells me about us? It tells me that all of the pornography that is being pumped into our society and all of Hollywood films that are being pumped into our minds, that are continually bombarding us with sexual innuendo and sex this and free sex that, it is penetrated, infiltrated the minds of so many people that after a short period of time they are not content just to watch over these people that are in this jails or in these jails over there. They have to do those things like sodomize them, strip them down, take pictures of them, make fun of them. I don’t care who is responsible. It is a horrible, horrible, commentary on the United States of America.
“That’s right, pastor Phil, Amen. You are right. You are telling the truth.”
Do you know what? We have allowed… We have allowed freedom to put us in bondage all over our nation, unfettered, unbridled, freedom, the right to do just as one pleases. And they are actually throwing their hands up as if they don’t know who to blame for these kinds of things.
I hear horses today, dear Christian. I hear the hoof beats of approaching hunger and famine like the world has never seen. We are being warned now that unless something happens hundreds of thousands in Africa will die of starvation. North Korea is on the brink of starvation right now. India [?] our missionary tells of daily starvation among the soon to be most population nation on planet earth. They are dying now. This is before the tribulation.
There are horses on the road. Death is certain. It is unavoidable, not only for those that will be alive, during this horrible time of tribulation, it is unavoidable for us, too. We have to remember that Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.”
What does… How does that make you feel? Put that in your pipe and smoke it?
“It is appointed unto man once to die and after this what? The judgment.”
You see, we love to declaw and detooth the Word of God.
Why is it? It is no wonder that the Bible is called powerful and sharper than any two edged sword that can pierce into our souls, dividing asunder, bone and marrow and just cutting us to pieces and laying our whole souls bare.
You see, that Bible right there says, “It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.”
Oh, it is going to be terrible for those on the road ahead, but it is going to be terrible for that person, that’s your neighbor, your friend, your coworker, your family member that dies without Christ and still faces the judgment.
Death is certain. It is unavoidable, not only for those who are alive in this tribulation, but for us. Some don’t believe in life after death. As a dog dies, so dies a man they say. Well, that’s what they say. But that is not what God says.
I failed to tell you what followed the rider on the pale horse. Look at verse number eight, if you would. “I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him.” Did you notice that? Death and Hades.
You say, “What is Hades?”
It is another word for hell. Hell was right behind. Death was the rider and hell did follow. Death for the body and hell for the soul. Terrible.
The third thing I want to say to you tonight—and I want to finish with this—is after we have looked at these horses on the road I want you to know that the people who stay on the road after the rapture find themselves under total condemnation, great tribulation and now total condemnation.
I want you to notice something. Is there anything very conspicuous about what we have read for this point? When you read about these seals that are being opened and about the judgments that are falling, are you noticing something, that all of the things that are happening are happening without the direct intervention of God himself?
You say, “What?”
Well, these first four horses are the simple result of man left to himself without rules, regulations or without a king, without a God.
I am saying that the first four horses, these first four judgments, the first four seals is what is going to happen in this world when man is left to himself, when he gets that total freedom that he wants. First war, after war there is going to be famine and then plagues and then death and that is the natural result.
You say, “Wow, that’s terrible. That’s horrible. What a great judgment from God.”
God didn’t have to do anything up to this point. He just let things go.
Do you know what the greatest… Do you know what the greatest danger in America is? It is that God would just finally just say, “Ok, have it your own way,” and just back his hands off totally.
Did you ever have children that you had to let them mess up long enough to figure out that they really did need you to show them how to do something? You just let them go until they really got themselves in so deep they couldn’t straighten out whatever it was they were working on. Then they asked you to come back and help them.
Do you know what the worst thing that could happen to this country would be, that happened to this world would be for God to just say, “All right. You want it your way? You got it your way. Go ahead. Figure it out yourself. I am done with you”?
Oh, boy. That is exactly what happens in these first four seals in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 6:9-10, listen to God’s Word.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
You see, no judgment by God has taken place yet. This is the natural result of man left to himself. These guys have been killed, they have been martyred. They have been… They are crying out, “Oh, God, when are you going to judge?” In other words, “We recognize you haven’t judged them yet, but when are you going to judge them?”
Everything up to this point is what is happening among the earth dwellers because of the earth dwellers themselves and because they wanted to follow the instead of Christ, the antichrist, the supplanter Christ, the one who came and promised the world, but delivered nothing. He was full of hot air and there was no substance to him.
And I want to say to you as a Christian, look for substance in your Christianity. Look for it. Look for the truth of God’s Word in your life. Go down these.
“Ah, I don’t want to go down deep and come up dry.”
That’s a cute cliché, but I have never known anyone getting deep in God’s Word and getting to know him intimately that came up dry. They came up knowing God and loving him more than the person who ignores God’s Word, ignores God’s presence and ignores time in prayer. Those people that do that, they don’t come up dry, they come up loving God and loving him and wanting to serve him with all of their life.
We are talking about the judgment of the earth dwellers, those that choose this world. It is not a pretty picture.
Now, I am going to read some things here out of God’s Word that are shocking. “I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake.” Now, man didn’t do that.
The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig-tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
Something happens when this next seal is opened, this sixth seal. The sixth seal is opened up and when it does there is an enormous earthquake, a tremendous earthquake. Let me read 15.
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face 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 can stand?”
Everybody recognizes in the sixth seal. They all understand, “Uh, oh, this isn’t our own doing anymore. It is true. He is coming. He is judging now.”
I lived in Peru for 13 years and we experienced several earthquakes. The last of which was one of the most scary moments of my life. I am not a person that is fearful by nature, but I was sitting in a chair and watching a World Series game, I think. I don’t remember what I was doing, but I was sitting in a chair and watching television. It was late one Saturday afternoon and we were sitting there and we were talking and all of the sudden I didn’t hear any boom. I didn’t hear any noise. I didn’t hear anything whatsoever going. I just heard this… And I looked over at the big plate glass window was going back and forth like that and all of the sudden under my chair where I was sitting there was this sensation of rolls like I was on a… like I was in a boat and I was sitting on the ocean out there just off the coast of Peru and it was just that up and down motion like that and I was sitting there and my chair was going back and forth and I think one of the kids said, “Is that an earthquake?”
We got up and went outside and the phone lines were going back and forth. And I want to tell you something. When what has been the most stable thing in your life, your entire life, that is what you are standing on and what you build your houses on, when that starts shaking you get scared.
Well, I want to tell you when the whole earth shakes and every mountain, every mountain is leveled and every island flees away, you know that something is happening very devastating and very powerful.
And it goes on to talk about what is going to go on during that time. The sixth seal opened.
There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig-tree when shaken by a strong wind.
And look at verse 14. “The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.”
I am going to go on a trek here in just a couple of weeks or a couple of months and we are going to go—as we do every summer—and walk through the Andes Mountains and I cannot describe to you… I have never been to the Himalayas, but I have been to the Rockies and the Rockies are big. They are magnificent, but I have never seen anything that is so mammoth and so awe strickening and so giant as those mountains and valleys that we walked through there.
We will… Our guide will say to us, “Listen. We are just going to walk around that little… We are going to walk down this valley and around… Just around the other side. It won’t take too long. That’s where we are going to camp tonight.” Seven hours later we get there. I mean it is… The immensity of those mountains is something that I cannot describe to you.[?] is the second highest point in the western hemisphere. It is the mount… It is the one that a big piece broke off in 1970 and killed 80,000 people. It is an enormous mountain. And we look at that thing and I read this verse that says every mountain disappeared. Think about that. Every mountain disappeared. Every island fled away.
Well, Honolulu is an island. Cuba is an island. Think about that. Just what is going to happen right here is something cataclysmic, something that we cannot even comprehend, but the whole world, the earth dwellers, people on the road, they understand it. Do you know why? Because the sky rolls back. This is not the rapture, ladies and gentlemen. This is the revelation. This is the moment when Jesus comes and said, “Ok, here I am. All you earth dwellers who doubted, who didn’t believe, you didn’t want to see me by faith. You don’t need faith anymore. Here I am.”
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us.
What? What? Why? Why fall on us and hide us? “Hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”
“Oh, we see him.”
They see into heaven itself and there is the Father sitting on the throne. And here comes the Lamb, Jesus coming to earth.
You read God’s word carefully, chapter 19, you find out that he is accompanied by thousands and thousands and ten thousands times ten thousands of his saints robed in white. Are they coming to fight? No. Just coming to watch. They are going to watch as the Lord destroys all of them with the brightness of his coming and with the sword, the double edged sword that goes out of his mouth.
We looked at 2 Peter chapter three and we found out that the earth is going to melt with fervent heat and all of those guns and armaments and all of those missiles that they are going to get together to fight against Jerusalem and then turn to fight against God, how are you going to fight against the one who is holding those elements together? As you point those missiles up, they melt. They are going to be shared. There is physical disintegration, an earthquake, alterations in the heavens. Things that were unshakable before simply disappear, islands and mountains.
The Bible says there is coming a day when this old world will go into a tail spin. Nuclear explosion? I don’t know. Or is it just the hand of God’s restraint is finally moved. Colossians chapter 1:17.
Notice the spiritual desperation. Verse 15. People say that man came from a cave. Well, man may have come from a cave or he may not have come from a cave, but there are going to be cave men in the end because they are going to go seek caves to try to find a way to hide.
Somebody said that this world started with a big bang. Well, it may have started with a big bang—at least in their own imaginations—but I will tell you one thing. It is going to end with a big bank. The Lord is coming back and he is going to change enverything.
This world that rejected the Rock of Ages will call upon the rocks to fall upon them. It will be the world’s greatest prayer meeting in history. The whole world is going to take up religion at that time whether they were religious or not. But what is sad is instead of believing in and accepting the one that is coming down—which it will be too late for them anyway—they are going to call on the… they are going to pray to the rocks, “Kill us, smash us, eliminate us, but do not let us suffer the wrath, anything except suffering the wrath of the Lamb.”
Can you imagine what the wrath of a Lamb would be like?
You say, “Well, lambs are meek.”
Yeah, that’s right. Jesus came the first time and he was meek. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and before his accusers he just kept his mouth shut. He didn’t say anything.
Listen. Imagine all of the sheep that have humbly come before those that were going to slit their neck and literally licked the hands of those that were going to kill them in the slaughter houses of the world, imagine what the wrath of threat lamb would be if that lamb never resisted. Jesus, the Lamb of God never resisted the hand of the Roman soldier, never resisted what those priests did to him, never resisted. Our sin he never resisted.
But the time of meekness is going to be over when he comes back at this point. He is not coming back meek and mild and riding on the foal of a donkey. No, he is coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and riding on a white horse and he is going to have his entourage with him and he is going to come back. This time he is going to come back in power.
Look at Revelation 12 and verse 12, if you would. “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
He has two things here. The earth dwellers and you have another group of people who are rejoicing because they have made a better choice. Look at that verse again. “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury.”
You say, “What about these earth dwellers? What is the deal? What is going on? Who are these that have gone to heaven?
The heaven dwellers are those that have already gone on before either by death or by way of the rapture. They are in his presence and they are going to come back with him. Those that are on the earth are the ones.
You know, on the road ahead the ones that choose to stay here, even if they are of that group that never heard the gospel that do believe during the time of the tribulation, they will suffer during that time. Woe to the earth and to the sea.
Everyone has a choice today. Everyone can pick your own world. If you give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ and become a citizen of another world or you can choose this world. And, sadly, many have chosen the world.
The Bible says that he will keep that believe from the hour that is to try the entire earth. 1 Thessalonians 1:8. It says there:
The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven.
That is what we are doing. I am not standing here tonight waiting on the antichrist to come. I am standing here waiting on the sound of a trumpet, the voice of an archangel and the shout of Jesus Christ to take me into heaven because listen to what this says. “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath [to come].”
I trust and I am sure that the majority of you that are here tonight have already decided what road you want to be on. You want to be on the heavenly road. You want to be on the road that leads you into an eternity in his presence and to live with him throughout all of eternity. But there are those that just simply ignore it or they put it off or they say, “Well, that’s all interesting. Maybe when I am old and I am ready to die I will make that choice.”
Do not take that chance. Isaiah chapter 55, today is when we have to decide. Seek the Lord while he may be found. Seek the Lord while he is near because there is no promise that he may be found tomorrow and there is no promise that will be near tomorrow. So we have to receive him.
“Pastor, what does it all mean? What… What do I need to do about this?”
Well, here is what it means. It means we had better make the right choice. It means we had better live for the right world. And it means we had better tell others of what is coming.
You see, God didn’t put the book of Revelation in there just to be curious. You know, I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me about different things in the book of Revelation. They have wanted to study it. They get all excited about oh how all this symbolism and all these different things that are happening, horses on the road ahead and great earthquakes that are going to happen and these trumpets that are going to blow. And, by the way, the sixth seal is the… The sixth seal contains all of the other judgments of God. They just flow out of that sixth seal. There is a series of trumpets. There is a series of plagues. There is a series of thunders and voices. There is a series of vials that are poured out. All of these are judgments and final judgments on the earth. And that goes from chapter number seven all the way to the first part of chapter number 19. It goes all the way through there explaining what is happening in this sixth seal.
And there is a lot of people, there’s, “Oh, man, that is just so exciting.”
But, you know what? Revelation was not put in there to satisfy our curiosity. It is not a book that we read and we say, “Oh, how interesting that all is and oh, boy, how poetic and how interesting and how prophetic and, boy, I just love to find out all this symbolis and understand all of these kinds of things and put it all together and we get these maps and we figure it out and we get charts and I have done that. I have put up big charts as I have taught before about these kinds of things. People get all excited.
There is a passage in here, chapter 10, where John was told by an angle to take this book with all of these writings and all of these judgments and everything, just take this, take it and eat it. And so he took that book according to the word of the angel and he ate the book. And it was like honey in his mouth.
Oh, who doesn’t like honey? It was exciting to him. He, “Oh, man, this is sweet. I love this. I love… This is unbelievable what I am reading.”
But once he swallowed it in his mouth and it got down into his belly the Bible said it was like worm wood. That is, it was so bitter to him that it made him sick for many days. He couldn’t stand what he had… Because what had happened is once he had got past the initial curiosity of what is in the book of Revelation and he had begun to think about the reality of one fourth of the world’s population dying, later one third of the world’s population dying, later another third of the world’s population dying and then later on the entire world being destroyed all at one time in the city of Bozra at the north end of what is the gulf leading to the Red Sea where for 200 miles, 50 miles wide to the horse’s bridle, the blood is going to flow of all men, rich, poor, old, young. When he thought about that it wasn’t so sweet.
The book of Revelation is not to satisfy our curiosity. Oh, there is a blessing because when we understand that we have been redeemed and bought by the blood of the Lamb we don’t have to worry. We don’t have to fret. We know that we can be saved from that hour of trial, that hour of wrath that is to come on this world. We can be saved from that. But at the same time we rejoice because it is not our lot in life or in the future. We can also be concerned because many of those that are around us are headed down this road.
You say, “Pastor, are you positive that everybody that doesn’t get saved is going to go down this road?”
Of course not. Some are going to die before this happens. That won’t lessen… that will not lessen the punishment of hell, but there are those and there is that chance that Jesus could come today, tomorrow. It is imminent. There is nothing to keep him from coming back. And when he does the saints go up. The non saints stay here. They stay on the road. And they head into this period known as the tribulation when the antichrist in charge, where men will slay each other and where, finally, God in the person of Jesus Christ makes his appearance to reveal himself and shows his right arm of strength and the sword goes out of his mouth, Revelation 19, and destroys all of them that are gathered.
Let’s bow our heads for a word of prayer.
Next week I am going to talk to you about peace down the road.
You say, “Wow, we are going to need that after listening to this tonight.”
Well, yes we are. There is peace ahead. There is hope. There is salvation for everyone that believes and I want you to know that Romans 1:16 and 17 is still in the Word of God.
Some of you are fearful about sharing your testimony or sharing the gospel with other people. You say, “Well, I’ll just mess that whole thing up. I get to talking to somebody. I am going to get it wrong and get it backwards and I am not going to say the right thing and I am going to make it worse. I had just better shut up and hope somebody else tells them.”
I want to tell you tonight that just like Bill Faye tells us all the time, God can use any kind of witness, but he cannot use your silence. God cannot use your silence. And I want you to know that Romans chapter one verse 16 and 17 says that the power of God is in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It says that we should not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
We get it mixed up in our head that we have to be crafty, we have to have ability with words, we have got to remember and learn some kind of preparation in order to be used by God. But I want you to know that a person with compassion in their heart, a person who loves his neighbor, who loves his friend, who loves his family member and wants them to know the truth and good news of the gospel, I want you to know with right motive God can use any kind of a witness and here is why, because the power of the gospel is not in the messenger. It is in the message. What changes men’s hearts is the gospel and love of God himself. It is not how crafty we are as we present him. You are not going to convince or twist somebody’s arm or get into a mental wrestling match with somebody and debate them into the kingdom of God. But if you share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with people you may not reap what you sow, but God can take what you sow and work in somebody’s heart and someone else may be able to bring them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
“What are you saying?”
I am saying that Jesus is coming. I am saying that when he comes and all of this starts there will be no detaining it. I am saying that we won’t be able to back up and move the hourglass backwards, roll time back and say, “Oh, wait a minute. I have got some people to witness to, somebody to share Christ with.” We are not going to be able to do that.
I am saying to you that the power of God is in the message, not the messenger. I want to say that we need to go out with the good news of the gospel and share with those people that are around us with a smile on our… perhaps with a tear in your eye, but a smile on your face, with joy in your heart as you tell them, “I love you. I care about you and I want you to know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”
Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. Let me ask. Is there somebody here tonight and you say, “I am on the road. I am living in the world and I am just carrying on. I don’t know anything about all this stuff, but I know this. If Jesus were to come back tonight as you talk about it, if the trumpet were to blow and he would call us into his presence, I am afraid that I am not saved. I don’t know Jesus. He is not my Lord and Savior. I wouldn’t go with him.”
Well, if you are here and you are like that tonight I have got great news for you. Here is the great news. He is as near as your next breath. The word that you need to say is, “Nigh unto thee. It is even in your mouth, the word of faith which does save you.” Because the Bible says, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” And, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation.” That is the Word of God.
What do you say? You say, “What do I need to do with it?”
You just need to believe. You need to say, “Jesus, come into my heart and save me. Put me on the road to heaven. Get me off the road to destruction. I am calling on you now. For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you are here tonight and you say, “That is me. I want to call on Jesus right now.” Nobody is looking, just raise your hand. I’ll pray for you. I won’t embarrass you. “I want to ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I want to know him.”
Are you here and you are like that tonight? Just raise your hand up. I’ll pray for you. Anyone?
My dear Father, I thank you for your Word. Thank you that you don’t leave us in the world without knowing what is going on, knowing what you are doing. We can’t understand it all, but you certainly have given us a good outline and a good glimpse of what is to come. You certainly let us know that it is worthwhile to go out and shed around your love and to tell the good news of the gospel. Lord, help me as a pastor to always be willing to ask that question even if it is embarrassing, even… even, Lord, if it is uncomfortable. Help me to just love you and care for that person more than I care for how they look at me. Help me to ask them if they know you.
I asked so many this morning as they came and told me it was their first time to grace. Lord, help us to care about the lost. Help us to love our families and our children, our neighbors. Help us to want to say something about the fact that Jesus loved them and died for them. Lord, we know you are coming. Awe know you are coming soon. Help us. Help us, Lord, to recognize it and do something with what we know. We ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 1:8-10
1 Thessalonians 1:10
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