I believe that the gap of time between the 6th and 7th Dispensations will be a period in which Satan will have the opportunity to implement his Kingdom on the world.
The last 7 years of the time is the apocalyptic era of judgment known as the Tribulation*, but it’s during the indeterminate period before the Tribulation that Satan will have his heyday.
As I mentioned in the last post, Satan doesn’t just want to rule the world, he wants to be worshiped as God.
Therefore, as part of his master plan, he will mimic the events that lead up to the establishment of the True Kingdom of God (apocalyptic judgments and the second coming of Christ), by creating a FAKE apocalypse and introducing a FALSE Christ.
Its is through these machinations that Satan hopes to fool man into worshiping him as “God”
I’ll admit that this is a provocative theory that differs from the traditional view in several ways, but I will show in this post and the next why this theory has merit AND how its validity is strongly hinted at by Jesus Himself!
The scriptures I will use as my primary proof points are the famed Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation 6, and Jesus’ prophetic treatise in Matthew 24 known as the “Olivet Discourse”.
The galloping hooves of the apocalypse
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, introduced in Revelation chapter 6, invoke some of the most well-known and vivid imagery in the book (as well as my nightmares when I was a kid). Before we get into the specifics of that prophesy, let’s look at the events leading up to it.
The first 3 chapters of Revelation deal with the 7 letters Jesus dictated to the Apostle John that were to be sent to seven Churches in Asia Minor (which we explored in detail earlier).
In Chapter 4, John is transported to Heaven and given a vision of the future that will occur after the Church Age. The symbols that represented the Church on earth in the first chapter are in Heaven by the 4th chapter, indicating that the Church (or at least the Bride) is in Heaven before the following events.
Chapter 5 shows God on the throne holding a very important scroll which is sealed with 7 seals. Because it has writing on the front and back of it, it is very likely a legal will containing an inheritance.
For reasons that will become obvious as we get deeper into this study, the scroll is essentially the “title deed” to the earth. It turns out that Jesus is the ONLY person worthy to open the scroll.
Chapter 6 details what happens when Jesus breaks the seals and opens the scroll. The events of chapter 6 have been traditionally interpreted in one of two ways.
- Those who see the events of Revelation as occurring primarily in chronological order, view chapter 6 as the first set of judgments from God that occur in the first half (3.5 years) of the Tribulation.
- Those who don’t hold to a strictly chronological view, see Chapter 6 as a big-picture overview of the Tribulation (with Chapters 7-19 serving as a more detailed breakdown).
And while both of these views have merit, and may prove to be correct, I obviously have a different theory which I will detail a bit later.
Opening the Scroll
Each time a seal on the scroll is broken, one of the Cherubim (four “super angels” who guard the Throne of God) say “come” (or “come and see” in some translations). And a rider on a colored horse goes forth.
Traditionally, this command has been seen as being directed to the Apostle John who is chronicling the events. However, several modern translations have taken the syntax of the Greek to mean that the proper rendering of the command is “come forth!”, “proceed!”, or simply “go!”
If this is the case (and I tend to believe it is), then the command is directed to the Horsemen, NOT to John!
The breaking of the seals RELEASES the Horsemen. This is an important point which I will elaborate upon in the next post. Now let’s look at the traditional view of each horseman
The White Horse – Antichrist
The breaking of the first seal releases a rider on a white horse. He carries a bow, and is given a crown, and authority with which he begins a campaign of worldwide conquest.
Some see this rider as representing Jesus and the Gospel conquering the world before judgment begins. This is a minority view mostly held by Dominionists. The context, character, and description of this rider argues against it being Jesus.
The majority traditional view is that the White Rider is the coming Satanic world leader known as the Antichrist. The fact that he is in white indicates that he is imitating the true visage of the returning Christ depicted later in Revelation (he seems to have already fooled the Dominionists).
The description of him having a bow – but no arrows, has led to the assumption that he comes to power on a platform of “peace” (backed by military power)
The Red Horse – War
The second seal releases a rider on a red horse. He is given power to take peace from the earth and is given a great sword. This rider is traditionally seen as the representation of great warfare that will occur during the Tribulation. Specifically a “World War III”, probably centered in the Middle East.
The Black Horse – Famine
The third seal releases a rider on a black horse. He is given a scale (used to weigh grain and the appropriate monetary payment). A voice is heard indicating that it will take an entire day’s wage to buy enough wheat for one meal. The same amount will buy enough of the lower quality grain barley (usually used as animal feed) for three meals.
The common assumption is that that this indicates famine due to the scarcity of food that is often a byproduct of war.
The Pale Horse – Death
When Jesus opens the fourth seal, a rider on a “pale” horse goes forth. This guy is somewhat unique in that we are given his name – “Death” (so I’m sure he’s quite charming). Hades (the realm of the dead) follows behind him, and for good reason. The Pale Rider is given authority to kill everyone on a fourth of the earth.
If that “fourth” translates directly to humanity, that would mean over 2 BILLION lives extinguished!
The interpretation on this one is straightforward for the most part. This is a judgment that will result in massive death from the sword (war), famine, disease, and…wild beasts.
That last one has been a source of particular confusion for Bible commentators. Taken at face value, apparently all the animals of the world are going to lose their minds and start biting the $#!+ out of people.
The Fifth and Sixth seals
With the opening of the fifth seal, the scene shifts and we see Christian martyrs appealing to God’s justice to avenge their deaths. They are told to be patient a little longer until the martyrdom of the Tribulation is complete.
At the breaking of the sixth seal, tremendous catastrophe is unleashed upon the earth. An earthquake unlike any before shakes the earth so badly that every island and mountain shift. The sun and the moon appear to be physically affected, and the “stars of heaven” fall to the earth. The terror causes people to universally hide from the “wrath of the Lamb”
This seal is traditionally seen as the culmination of these judgments. The devastation of the earthquake will be unprecedented and will permanently scar the earth. The signs in the heavens will let fallen man know without a shadow of a doubt that they are experiencing supernatural events. The “stars falling to earth” is usually seen as symbolic somehow, since the earth could not survive a collision with a single star, let alone a multitude.
Finally, the desire of people to hide from “the wrath of the Lamb” leads most commentators to believe that the sixth seal judgments (if not all the seal judgments) come directly from Jesus
However, I think the so-called “wrath of the lamb” is actually a key proof point to show that the Horsemen and the “seal judgments” are NOT from Jesus – more details in an upcoming post.
Again, my view is that the events of Revelation 6 are NOT the judgments from God at the beginning of the Tribulation, but are actually a false apocalypse engineered by Satan primarily BEFORE the Tribulation.
One of my primary scriptural supports for this view are some of the words of Jesus Himself from His treatise on the time of the Tribulation, known as the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24.
In Matthew 24, three of Jesus’ disciples come to Him privately and ask Him to expound on the signs of His Second Coming and the end of age (which will culminate in the prophetic judgments and the Kingdom of the 7th Dispensation).
Jesus’ response match up so well will the opening of the seals, that they are pretty much seen as congruous.
He begins by warning that there will be people falsely claiming to be Christ (the White Rider), wars and rumors of wars (Red Rider), famine (Black Rider), disease, widespread killing (4th seal) earthquakes (6th seal) and believers being killed for their faith (5th seal).
But here’s where it gets interesting. The thing that people often miss is that Jesus BLATANTLY couches the entire first portion of His Discourse with an important and pervasive theme – DECEPTION!
He starts the discourse with a warning against deception, THEN He talks about false Christ’s, wars, famines etc.
AND He pointedly says that these events are NOT the end, but actually just the BEGINNING of the end!
Jesus then contrasts those pre-Tribulation events by providing the act that will ACTUALLY start the Great Tribulation (the “Abomination of Desolation” which we will cover later)
Taken in context, I think Jesus is saying that the events we see in Revelation 6 (specifically the Horsemen) are some kind of deception that will mimic the actual Tribulation!
It’s the false Apocalypse I’ve been talking about for the last two posts!
Let’s take another look at Revelation 6 in this new context
If my theory is true, then a re-reading of Revelation 6 is called for. Therein we will see how this chapter looks through the eyes of the Satanic deception that Jesus warned of. We will also see how God takes an active hand in insuring that the deception is successful! Next time.
*[NOTE – Yes, I’m fully aware that there is technically no such thing as a “7 year Tribulation” in the Bible, and that the “Great Tribulation” Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24 is actually 3 ½ years. However when I use the term “Tribulation” in this blog, I am referring to the entire 7 year period known as the “70th Week of Daniel”, the last half of which is the aforementioned Great Tribulation. Why? Because I don’t feel like typing out “the 70th Week of Daniel” over and over.]