Revelation Lesson 15: The End of Earth’s Utopia
Revelation Chapter 6: 1-4
“Now I saw when the Lamb 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. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come and see.’ 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.” (Revelation 6: 1-4)
Over the past 14 weeks as I have worked on the series in Revelation, I have been bombarded with a lot of questions. I love your questions and look forward to them. Be patient with me, and I will do my best to get to them. One of the questions that I often get is, “What is happening on earth as we are seeing what John sees in Heaven? I will attempt to offer some concrete answers to you today as we begin to consider the seals being opened in Revelation chapter 6. To fully try to understand what is happening, we need to look at some scripture. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 we find these words and a description of what is happening on earth:
“The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder, and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them. For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.”
There will be a Lawless one who comes and takes over the world. He is in complete contrast to Jesus; Jesus came to fulfill the Law of God, but this man that is coming is Lawless; this will be the working of Satan. He will use every kind of sign and wonder at his disposal to take control. In verse 11, we see that God will send them ‘strong delusions’ that they will believe the lie. We do not know what ‘the lie’ will be but it will be big. Adolph Hitler said,
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
The system of the Antichrist has a lie, a big one that will be told to the world population after the Rapture; and God will give the people of the earth strong delusions that they will accept ‘the lie’. This is the plight of the lost at the end of the church age. Now, we know that many are saved in the Tribulation, so, there are some that will be able to see; but most will not. While we are seeing the Lord for the first time, the masses of the earth will be blinded by lies and following the dictates of the Antichrist. It may take a while for this man to surface. We find some understanding about this in Daniel.
Daniel 9: 26-27 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”
We are told in verse 26 that “the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city.” This is after the Messiah is ‘cut off’ or killed. So, who killed the Messiah? The Roman government; Pontius Pilate gave the order and the Roman military carried out the order. Yes, it was the Jews who condemned Jesus to death, but they could not kill Him. Only the Romans could do that.
We are told in Daniel that ‘the people of the prince’ will destroy the city and sanctuary. This prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD by General Titus when Jerusalem was sacked and the Temple razed to the ground. From this we know that the prince who is to come is out of the Roman Empire. He will come to power shortly after the Rapture and will be able to get Israel to sign a ‘covenant’ (verse 27) for 7 years, called ‘one week’ in Daniel.
During the time shortly after the Rapture, the world will begin to put in place a world order. We see this in Daniel 7:23-27. There will be a system of 10 Kingdoms; and from these 10 kingdoms or regions will come one who will be able to conquer three of the regions, three of the Kingdoms; and he will be the Antichrist.
Revelation tells us the time after the Rapture is busy here on earth as the Antichrist gets set into place for Satan to come and rule. By the time the first seal is opened, there is, for the most part, order on earth again. There is a type of Utopia. There is a type of ‘peace and safety’; and the world, for the most part, is secure under ‘the lie’.
Let me give an opinion right now; this is not Revelation, just my understanding of what I read in the news and see as I study prophecy: The world system is awaiting the Rapture just as much as we are. They already have ‘the lie’ in place. It is well-rehearsed and settled among those waiting for the rise of Satan. I do not think that they know who the Antichrist is yet, but I am sure he is alive and well somewhere. I think this because I believe that we are the last generation as we have seen the resurrection of Israel and the restoration of Jerusalem as her capital. We are Daniel’s people from Daniel 12:4; we ‘run to and fro’ throughout the earth, and we are the generation that has seen exponential knowledge increase.
Now we will get back to the Bible and learn what we can.
The First Seal is opened, Revelation Chapter 6, verses 1-2
The man rides in on a White horse. He was given a crown (notice the word ‘given’). The people of earth give this man a crown. He has a bow as well, but no arrows are mentioned. He did not conquer to get this power, BUT he is going to conquer more and more people. This may suggest while there is a large part of the earth that follows the Antichrist, there may still be pockets of resistance in and throughout the world. But the vast part of the world is settled with him as their leader.
We are reminded that this man will be able to perform signs and false wonders according to 2 Thessalonians 2:9. This is why Jesus warned us about people looking for signs all the time (see Matthew 16:4). The only sign that God will give us that is authentic is the sign of Jonah, that is the Resurrection of Jesus. But later we will see that the Antichrist will appear to copy this sign as well.
Many in the ‘church’ world are preparing a generation for the Antichrist. We love the tactile feeling of religions, the goosebumps, the spine tingles and the outward signs. Few today are looking for things like faithfulness. Many, even in conservative churches, have gone to entertainment and fun to keep people.
Folks, if being saved from Hell by Jesus’ gracious gift to us is not enough to keep people faithful, no amount of entertainment will either. That is why we need to keep having ‘hit songs’ even on Christian radio. People love new: new songs, new ‘words from the Lord’, new Bible versions, new ways to do this and that. Often we just want new; we are not worried about the doctrinal soundness.
The Antichrist will bring in a new religion; one with wonders and signs, one filled with promises of Utopia, and one that appeals to the baser and sinful wants of men and women. They will believe ‘the lie’; they deliberately defied the truth of God (Romans 1:18); and the worshipping of the creation rather than the Creator is the sign of this rebellion. They have been left behind at the Rapture; and God, honoring their rejection of Him, has blinded them to the truth completely. They have their god, or so they think.
The Second Seal is opened, Revelation Chapter 6, verses 3-4
How quickly the Utopia comes to an end! What I am about to say is a Biblical truth and not very PC: We are sinners. Deep down inside of the nicest people you know lies a heart that is evil and deceitfully wicked according to Jeremiah 17:9,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
‘Follow your heart’ is a lie from Hell. Follow Christ! Weigh every decision and every action against the written and reveled truth of the BIBLE. Romans 3:9-18 reveals that we are completely sinful and that there is not one shred of natural goodness in any of us. No matter how much of a utopia you create, men and women are evil and sinful; and it does not take long for their natural nature to come out.
Remember that from Rapture to the Tribulation is at best 10 years; some think it to be only 7 years. This utopia that they create begins to crumble within a very short time of its creation.
There is murder in utopia. Look at Revelation 6, verse 4; it was ‘granted’ that he, the one who rode the Red horse, would kill people. But notice the next phrase: the people begin to kill each other as well. What? How can this be? If we could only have the perfect world, then all the violence will stop and we will all get along. But it is not long before the evil in people’s hearts starts to surface, and they begin to kill each other. There will be murder and personal killings.
Is it not a weird coincidence that movies like The Purge have become popular in the last few years? The idea of wholescale anarchy among the plebes of the world. Well, the earth will see this firsthand in the Tribulation.
While the common people are killing each other, the leader, the Antichrist, goes on a killing spree as well. The word for sword in verse 4 depicts not a broad sword that you see in the hands of knights but rather a shorter more maneuverable one that is used by assassins. The Antichrist is going to kill people up close and very, very personal.
Lastly, we are told in Revelation 6, verse 4 that he will ‘take peace’ from the earth. Man, they just got their ‘peace and safety’. They just got what they thought they wanted, and here we are; the world is plunged into violent murders again, and it begins from the top down.
Man’s quest for utopia apart from Jesus will be a colossal fail. Remember the famous line ‘Know Jesus Know peace; No Jesus no Peace.’ Jesus is perfectly good; man is perfectly evil. Mankind will never create a utopia apart from Jesus. Make no mistake; Jesus will bring utopia to earth, and He will rule with truth and justice. But the Antichrist cannot do this, and he will lie to people long enough to get them where he wants them.
Recall “For God so loved the world…” Well, since the Antichrist is the opposite of God, his verse will read ‘For the antichrist so hated the world’. All the people who worship Satan and are pining for his kingdom have been fooled into thinking that Satan loves them. He hates them with every fiber of his being. He cannot love anyone but himself. There are none so blind as those who turn their backs on God to follow the fairytales of mere men. BUT, we have the truth—the Bible, God’s Holy Word that, when studied and treasured, gives us the right view of life, death and the ages to come.
Jesus is the ONLY WAY; no other way exists. Serve the Lord God Almighty with all your heart, mind and soul. Comfort one another with these words:
John 14: 1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”