Today Derek finishes this message with a look at the four horsemen described in Revelation. In particular, he focuses on the rider of the white horse—Jesus the conqueror. That rider keeps ahead of the other horses and brings in the vast harvest of souls that comes before final judgment.
And then one final picture from Revelation, I have to move very quickly. Revelation 6, which I believe is a kind of outline of the various events and phases that will lead up to the close of this age. And the first part of it is the vision of four successive horsemen who ride out, who are symbolic, I believe, of things that are coming upon the earth. The first horseman rides a white horse. It says he goes out conquering and to conquer. Let’s leave him on one side for a moment. He’s the title of this message, the white horse.
The next horseman rides a red horse and carries a great sword. And the picture is one of bloodshed, war and civil war. It seems that the whole earth is going to be embroiled in various types of war and, I believe, civil war.
The next horseman rides a black horse and he carries in his hand a pair of scales. And he gives out a ration, a price, a certain amount of wheat for a day’s wages. Or, a certain amount of barley. It’s like the whole earth is now short of supplies; everybody is rationed. And the rations are not really adequate because you get for a day’s wages less than enough to feed your family with.
But in the midst of it the message also says don’t harm the oil and the wine. The oil and the wine are the food of the rich. So in the midst of general poverty and deprivation there will be a small element of wealthy people. I think this is clearly depicted in the book of Revelation. They say in the world today the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. I think that’s what Revelation is also depicting.
And after the black horse there’s a pale horse, and the rider on him is called Death. And there’s another horse that follows called Hades. And one-fourth of the earth are victims of those horses.
Then the next scene is the martyrs of the Lord under the altar. Those who have died for their faith in Jesus, crying out to God, “How long, O Lord, before you avenge our blood on the people that dwell on the earth?” And the answer is there are yet more martyrs to give their lives before the end. Now most of us don’t like to envisage this but to me it’s extremely clear that multitudes of Christians will have to lay down their lives for their testimony of the Lord Jesus before the age closes.
And then finally, the final scene in Revelation 6 is the opening of heaven and the appearance of the Lord Jesus as the Lamb ready to bring judgment on the wicked. And all the unbelievers are crying out for mercy and saying to the rocks and to the mountains, “Hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne.” And a very unusual phrase is used, “Hide us from the wrath of the Lamb.” When you think of a lamb the last thing you ever think about a lamb is it being angry. But it’s like the picture says, even Jesus in all His gentleness and mercy will come to a point where it will be wrath that will be visited upon the disobedient.
That’s the outline of the chapter. I want to go back to the first horse. This is my understanding. You could disagree with me and still go to heaven! But it’s very vivid to me. It’s so vivid I can see it in my mind’s eye. What is the white horse that goes out conquering and to conquer? Well, in the Roman Empire it was the emperor himself who rode on a white horse. And this rider has a laurel wreath on his brow which is the insignia of a conqueror. It corresponds, actually, to the gold medal in the Olympic Games today, the mark of the victor. So the white, I believe, speaks of purity. So here is a conqueror in purity who goes forth totally victorious. My understanding, this is Jesus in the gospel going out to all nations, going out victorious. And I envisage a period when the gospel will go out with almost irresistible power and conviction. And multitudes will be swept into the kingdom of God.
In fact, I believe that in a few years more people will be saved than have ever been saved since Jesus died and rose from the dead. You see, we see this together with the growth of the world population to five billion. Think of that sickle casting in in such a world population. Think of that horse riding out through nation after nation. And let me say because of where I am, I am personally convinced that Southeast Asia is going to experience this on a scale that none of you could imagine at this time. That’s my personal conviction.
But, my thought is this: The white horse has got to keep ahead of the red horse, the black horse and the pale horse. And that’s what I want to leave with you is a sense of urgency. We have no time to lose because the judgments of God are coming. But if we are diligent, if we’re industrious, if we’re fully committed, we can just stay ahead of the destroying horses of judgment. They’re coming. No one can hold them back. The only thing we can do is keep ahead of them.
This is my personal conviction, it’s not just a theory. It’s what motivates me. It’s not something that I arrived at suddenly, it’s the result of years of meditating and studying the Scriptures. And it’s not just a theory, it’s something that I’m willing to give my life for.
I’m aware that for many of you what I’ve been saying is new, unfamiliar, maybe a little frightening. But bear in mind we don’t have to be frightened. Jesus said, and we sang a chorus earlier, when you see these things don’t hide in a hole, lift up your head. Because, they’re the sign that your redemption is near. Suppose a couple have prayed for years for a baby and the wife becomes pregnant. And ultimately the birth pangs begin. Does the husband phone the doctor and say, “Doctor, my wife is going through a terrible experience. Please come and stop these pains.” No. Why not? Because he wants the baby. And if we want the kingdom of God to be born on earth we’ve got to be prepared for the birth pangs. That’s really the thing that Jesus is communicating. The kingdom of God is coming but it’s coming with birth pangs.
Now I want to give this very brief but personal application. I am aware that some of you have kind of been shocked but nevertheless, remember that in a certain sense the destiny of the nations depends on the church. Because, the sign is something that only we can bring about. Politicians can’t do it, scientists can’t do it, military commanders can’t do it. There’s only one group of people that can preach the gospel, that’s the believer. It’s our privilege to be the turning point of human history. The destiny of the nations rests on the church of Jesus Christ.
Now, if you’ve never really been awakened to this but the Holy Spirit through the Word of God has been speaking to you here this evening, and you would like to tell God, “God, I want to unite myself with your purpose. I want to commit myself to what you’re doing on the earth. I want to accept my responsibility as a Christian to play my part in bringing the gospel of the kingdom to all nations at this time.” I would like to ask you to do one thing because I want to pray for you and I want God to see you. If that’s your decision here tonight will you stand to your feet right where you are. It’s an important decision. God is going to see it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to have an easy life. I’m going to ask my wife to come up, we always pray together when people stand like this. I do believe that God has really made this real to some of you. So I’m going to pray for all of you that are standing here. If you want to receive the anointing of God and the blessing of God as I pray, would you just raise one hand to God?
“Lord Jesus Christ, you’re the Lord of the harvest. And we lift up to you now these who are willing to be reapers in your harvest. Willing to commit themselves to your purposes that will bring in the birth of your kingdom on the earth. Lord, lay your hand on every one who’s standing now and set them apart for yourself for this time in which we live. From this night onward move in their lives in such a way that they’ll come into the fullness of your purposes. In Jesus’ name we pray.”
And all God’s people said amen.