Blogging With Kenny

Ken Klein sent me a reply today asking me to apologize for my video commentary to his heretical teaching on original sin. The issue is that Ken denies the orthodox biblical doctrine of original sin, as the clips in the video evidence. He opposes the clear teaching of the Apostle Paul and I called him on it. Now he is threatening to sick his attorney’s on me.  Ken’s posts are indented in block quotes, my responses are marked Logos:

—————————–

****Due the length of Ken’s post and the fact that he basically defends his use of elohim for a plurality of angelic beings, something I never disputed, it is linked here.  ****

I am impressed to say for the sake of a laying a foundation:  Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  Jesus Christ is the common denominator that gives union to all believers even through their are differences of view points.  Yes, I believe in the Trinity and I do embrace an insight on that subject.

It is unfortunate that you have not done due diligence on who I am before trying to assassinate my character.  I would ask you to take down the video because it violates copyright laws, youtube policies, and includes slanderous accusations as to my motives and character.

I forgive you.
Ken

——————————-

Logos:

Sorry but this does not address the issue that sin entered the world through Adam, through one man not because we are fallen angels working off past rebellion. Paul makes that crystal clear.  You don’t have a biblical leg to stand on.

——————————

Ken:

Expected a more thoughtful response from someone who calls themselves Logos.

———————————

Logos:

I was brief, I am really busy at the seminary this week. I don’t see how any of this addresses the real issue. I made it clear in the video: http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=206.  I am familiar with the Divine Council concept and have studied the work of Dr Michael Heiser, so the idea of little ‘g’ gods is nothing new. That was never my problem with your theology. It’s that you blatanly mocked the doctrine of original sin Ken.

THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR THE ORIGINAL STATE OF INNOCENCE AND PERFECTION

According to Genesis 1–2, Adam and Eve were created with complete innocence. They had no evil in their natures or their environment. They “were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25 nasb), and they did not yet know “good and evil” (3:5). In short, they were not only guiltless of any sin but also innocent of sin.

Further, the very temptation to “be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5) implies they did not know evil before they fell. Indeed, when they ate the forbidden fruit, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (3:7). According to the New Testament, by disobedience Adam and Eve became sinful (Rom. 5:12; 1 Tim. 2:14) and brought condemnation on themselves and their posterity: “The result of one trespass was condemnation for all men” (Rom. 5:18).3 Before this, they were flawless.

Source: Geisler, Norman L.: Systematic Theology, Volume Three: Sin, Salvation. Minneapolis, MN : Bethany House Publishers, 2004, S. 17

In your video it wasn’t Adam’s sin. No, you said that wasn’t fair of God. Your words Ken, “It’s not fair!”  So you created this new revelation that it was our sin as as pre-incarnate angels? You are directly contradicting the Apostle Paul’s teaching.  That’s what I was responding to Ken, it was clear enough. You do not have the authority to “correct” Paul because you don’t think it’s fair, Ken.

As far as taking down the video look into : Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship.

——————————

Ken:

Consider the very scripture you brought up to support your interpretive doctrine of “Original Sin”.  If sin had to enter through Adam, then sin had to already be in existence, and by definition cannot be original.  For something that doesn’t exist cannot enter.

“By the way it was Eve that sinned according to Timothy.  So how did sin enter through Adam?”

We are not mocking the terrible nature of sin, but rather how the current and traditional Christian doctrine of sin is such a feeble representation of the magnitude of sin.  And the way it is represented, makes God out to look like a cruel rather than loving God.

His very nature is maligned by the poorly interpreted doctrine that you hold to.

Ken

P.S. I’m very aware of “fair usage laws” as a film producer and you aren’t in alignment with those laws.  If you still refuse to take it down then you will hear from my attorney.

————————————–

This was the  point where I decided to take it public. I will stand on the Fair Use provision. Ken is threatening me with his attorney. I am clearly using clips of his video for criticism and commentary which is the very reason the fair use provision was enacted. You tube isn’t too sympathetic about false DMCA’s being filed.  But what is really important is exposing Ken’s false teaching and bad theology.

_______________________

Ken: Consider the very scripture you brought up to support your interpretive doctrine of “Original Sin”.  If sin had to enter through Adam, then sin had to already be in existence, and by definition cannot be original.  For something that doesn’t exist cannot enter.

————————————

Logos:

This is really your argument? Sin is a metaphysical bogeyman that pre-existed Adam. Seriously? Sin means disobedience to God’s standard. It was original to humanity, Adam being the first human. Due to that, today we have an inherited sin nature but as Dr Geisler pointed out in the entry above there was a state of innocence in the original creation.  This is not an interpretative matter Ken. You teach that all of humanity sinned as pre-incarnate angels and we are here on earth working off our error by our own righteous choice. That is wrong on many levels. It qualifies as heresy and it is the duty of apologists to refute such error. The Bible explicitly says that one transgression led to the condemnation for all men.

“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. ” (Romans 5:18–19, ESV)

How do you explain this scripture Ken?

Ken: “By the way it was Eve that sinned according to Timothy.  So how did sin enter through Adam?”

According to Timothy? Sorry Ken but the Apostle Paul (the same guy that wrote “by one man’s disobedience”) wrote 1st Timothy.  I suppose you are referring to “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. ” (1 Timothy 2:13–14, ESV) Paul’s point here is that Eve was deceived by the Serpent. Adam was not deceived, he knew better. Adam willfully chose to disobey. A man is the spiritual leader of his household by God’s design and when God inquired (Gen 3:9) he called Adam’s name. That’s the distinction Paul was making. This is really basic biblical theology Ken. You should know better.

Ken: We are not mocking the terrible nature of sin, but rather how the current and traditional Christian doctrine of sin is such a feeble representation of the magnitude of sin.  And the way it is represented, makes God out to look like a cruel rather than loving God.

His very nature is maligned by the poorly interpreted doctrine that you hold to.

It’s not just the “current and traditional” doctrine. It’s the apostolic teaching. It’s at the core of Biblical Christianity. It’s a non negotiable. Ken, I believe God’s revealed truth in holy scripture, “as one trespass led to condemnation for all men,” it is not an interpretive matter. You either believe the Bible or you do not. It’s a matter of submission to Biblical authority. You said that you don’t think it was fair that you inherited Adam’s sin. Ken you are the one maligning God’s character with, “It’s not fair”.  Actually, it’s really not fair that Jesus died for me. So I am glad it’s not fair. If it was really fair, I would go to hell.  No Ken, I didn’t choose to work off my pre-incarnate angelic transgressions. God was merciful. Ken you simply reject the clear teaching of scripture and have manufactured a new revelation to “correct” it. It’s nothing new. So did Joseph Smith, Alice Bailey, Mary Baker Eddy, David Koresh and Muhammad.  That’s what cults do Ken.


Why Eschatology Matters Part Two

Flashback to Daniel

continued from Part 1

This begs the question,  “What were they expecting that made them so sure Jesus was not the Messiah?” They knew the scriptures better than anyone. After all, some of the Pharisees could even boast having memorized the entire Torah! To answer this question, I think it is important that we take a look at the foundation of all Biblical eschatology, Daniel. Daniel was written by a Hebrew captive while in exile to Babylon beginning in 605 BCE. Recall Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan. 2:1) of a great statue that predicted four kingdoms which were represented by the four metals composing the statue.  The most important feature is that at the end of the dream the statue is destroyed by a great stone (Dan. 2:44-45). This is what the Jews were expecting then (and now) and this is what Christians understand to be the promise of the Second Advent. Because of the mention of King Belshazzar, Nabonidus’ son and co-regent, we can determine that the book moves chronologically from chapters one to six and then at chapter seven backs up in time to a point somewhere before chapter five. What is important is that Daniel’s vision in chapter seven parallels the dream in chapter two albeit, as I will argue below, from the divine perspective rather than a human perspective.

In biblical prophecy a “vision” is frequently the vehicle employed by God to reveal the future to His prophets. Whether earthbound or through mystical ascension to heaven, apocalyptic visions serve as means to encourage God’s people that the kingdom of God will certainly come. Usually the symbolic images are interpreted to the visionary by an angel. The ancients recognized both dreams and visions but frequently used the terms interchangeably.[i] If one accepts the inspiration of scripture, an apocalyptic vision should be interpreted as what the prophet actually saw not merely a genre of literature. Daniel chapter seven begins with the prophet lying in bed and seeing “a dream and visions of his head” (v.1). Scholars universally agree that this vision parallels the four kingdoms from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter two.[ii] However, between chapters two and seven there is a juxtaposition of imagery that speaks to a divine commentary on the vainglory of man.

Daniel saw four great beasts rise out of the sea that later we are told represent “four kingdoms that will rise from the earth” (Dan 7:17). Conservative scholars unanimously agree that the kingdoms are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.[iii] While there are alternate interpretations, postulating Babylon, Median, Persia, Greece, I believe that only those bent by anti-supernatural bias relegate the vision to the Maccabean era by late dating the text and ascribing pseudepigraphical status. They must violate the historical record by splitting Medo-Persia into two separate empires. They then proceed to violate holy inspiration by assigning the fourth beast to the Greek Empire. They make the book a clever forgery. Because Jesus himself authenticated Daniel as the author (Mat. 24:15) this is a non starter for true Christians.

Due to my own first principles, I dismiss such biased conjecture outright. However, I will demonstrate that the traditional view is coherent with prophetic symbolism and the historical record, while the liberal critic’s position appears ad hoc and disingenuous. I also agree with H.A. Ironside, who commenting on the parallel with the chapter two statue dream writes, “In what we have already gone over we have been chiefly occupied with prophetic history as viewed from man’s standpoint; but in the second half of the book we have the same scenes as viewed in God’s unsullied light.”[iv] Daniel’s vision is illustrative of God’s view of imperialism. Contemplate the kingdom values expressed by Christ in His sermon on the mount. Then consider Nebuchadnezzar when Daniel first encountered him: proud, fierce, and ambitious. How aggrandizing it was to be represented as a head of pure gold. And isn’t this the way of us all apart from the grace of God?

The first beast that looked like a ferocious lion and represents Babylon corresponds to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden head. However, in this second vision additional details make for an apt description of Nebuchadnezzar himself. In view of chapter four’s events, the tearing off of the beast’s wings seems to symbolize Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling. When the lion-like beast is given the heart of a man, his restoration and testimony about God come to mind. The parallel is compelling. On a more earthbound note, in Nebuchadnezzar’s time the Babylonian Ishtar Gate entrance was lined with yellow lions in relief on blue-glazed brick.[v] The winged lion of Babylon was a well established emblem. One would be hard pressed to find a more fitting symbol.

The second beast is a great blood-thirsty bear raised up on one side which represents the Medo-Persian Empire. The description is subtly appropriate for a federation in which one nation dominates the other. In fact, the historical record is clear that the Persian contingent did dominate the Median. The liberal view that this beast is Median singular fails in this regard. Furthermore, the bear is divinely commanded to devour three ribs, corresponding nicely with the major three conquests made by King Cyrus and his son Cambyses: the Lydian (546 BCE), Chaldean (539 BCE) and Egyptian (525 BCE).[vi] Chapter 6 of Daniel is very plain that the kingdom at that time was the kingdom of the “Medes and Persians” (vv. 8, 12, 15). Thus the book of Daniel itself states that this was the Medo-Persian Empire at this time.[vii] The Maccabean hypothesis is incoherent in light of the evidence. This level of correspondence with verifiable history authenticates the traditional interpretation and speaks to the prophetic veracity of the vision. Yet it is a ghastly bloody scene, far removed from the shining silver of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

The four-winged leopard with four heads represents the Greek empire won by Alexander the Great. Like a swift and agile leopard, Alexander was famous for his expeditious conquest of the known world. Of particular interest to the biblical perspective, Josephus records that Alexander had intended to destroy Jerusalem until he recognized the purple robed high priest from his own dream about conquering Asia. The priest handed him the scroll of Daniel,

And when the book of Daniel was showed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended; …He granted all they desired: and when they entreated him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired:[viii]

Leniency aside, Alexander died at the young age of thirty-two leaving his four generals Antipater, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy to squabble over the empire. The biblical writers used the term “head” as a symbol for leadership and ruling authority and this neatly explains the leopard’s four heads. [ix] Again the traditional interpretation is supported by the data and the liberal view fails. Also we get a glimpse from the heavenly perspective, a carnivorous monster rather than the cast bronze of man-centered majesty.

The fourth and final terrible beast of Daniel’s night visions is one unlike any known creature. It corresponds to the iron legs, feet, and toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue and represents Rome. Several details tie the statue and dreadful beast together. The legs of the statue are iron like the teeth of the animal. The animal has ten horns paralleled in the ten toes of the statue, presumably representing ten kingdoms. However, a unique element not present in the dream of the statue is introduced in the vision of the four beasts: the appearance of “another horn, a little one,” which replaced three of the horns of the last and terrible beast. While the horns and toes seem to be kingdoms, this eleventh horn has eyes like a man and supplants three others. This appears to be the first biblical reference to the individual later described in the New Testament as the Antichrist. Daniel’s vision is still contemporaneously prophetic to the twenty-first century!

As a believer I take a high view of inspiration and I feel compelled to make much out of the sharp contrast between the vision given to the godly prophet and the impious king. It runs deeper than first appearance. In chapter two the interpreter is a man, Daniel. In chapter seven the interpreter is a holy angel from the divine council scene. World history from man’s perspective is triumphal idolatry, while from God’s perspective it is beastly carnage. Miller admits “there may be truth to it.” [x] Walvoord concurs, “…world history from God’s standpoint in its immorality, brutality, and depravity.” [xi] In the economy of Jesus Christ where the meek “shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5), it should not be dismissed as fanciful.

To be continued…


[i]Leland Ryken, Jim Wilhoit, Tremper Longman et al., Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000, c1998), 217.

[ii]Stephen R. Miller, vol. 18, Daniel, Includes Indexes., electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1994), 192.

[iii] Miller, Daniel, 196.

[iv]Henry Allan Ironside, Lectures on Daniel the Prophet., 2d ed. (New York: Loizeaux Bros., 1953), 117.

[v]Gleason L. Archer, Jr., “Daniel” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 7: Daniel and the Minor Prophets, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 85.

[vi]Archer, “Daniel”, 86.

[vii]John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key To Prophetic Revelation (Galaxie Software, 2008; 2008), 148.

[viii]Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus : Complete and Unabridged, Includes Index. (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1987), Ant 11.337-338.

[ix] Ryken, Wilhoit, Longman et al., Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, 368.

[x]Miller, Daniel, 218.

[xi]Walvoord, Daniel, 151.

Why Eschatology Matters Part One

Christianity is an Eschatological Worldview

Pop culture tells us that waiting is for losers, why not seize the day and have your best life right now? Admittedly, patience, persistence, perseverance are not my favorite words. They convey yearning, unsatisfied expectations and unrequited love.  While Augustine advised “Patience is the companion of wisdom”, waiting is always proportionately difficult to the object of one’s passion. Accordingly, a milestone of maturity is met when a child learns to delay gratification. Remember as a teen anticipating your driver’s license? The wait seemed interminable. Rites of passage creep ever so slowly. Yet one finally arrives at adulthood and then ponders, “Is this all there is?” Christianity answers this question with a profound negative. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

Despite the sentiments of those who relegate the book of Revelation to the first century, Christianity is a profoundly eschatological faith. It’s inescapably so. New Testament scholar Gordon Fee writes, “The theological framework of the entire New Testament is eschatological.”[1] The Greek word for the end is eschaton, in this context meaning when God brings our present age to consummation. There is a tension inherent in the Christian worldview that eclipses all the yearnings of adolescence. It is the groaning of creation itself (Rom 8:22). Skeptics of the bible err when they pose the problem of evil, even natural evil, as contradictory. For it is not as if God has ignored it. Evil was served notice at Calvary and we await it’s eviction at the eschaton. Revelation chapter twenty assures the believer it is imminent and given biblical prophecy’s unrivaled record of literal fulfillment our confidence is deserved. Evil will not stand long in God’s economy.

The Jews in Jesus’ generation had an eschatological worldview. They believed they lived on the very threshold of time, when God would miraculously intervene into history and bring peace and justice. The source of their hope was scriptural. The new covenant spoken of by Jeremiah will be realized (Jer 31:31–34; 32:38–40). Sin and disease will be vanquished (e.g., Zech 13:1; Isa 53:5). An era of prevailing righteousness (e.g., Isa 11:4–5), when humanity will peacefully coexist (e.g., Isa 2:2–4) and even the law of the jungle will be supplanted by love (e.g., Isa 11:6–9). They were justified in their hope but the majority missed the mark. I can certainly sympathize with their error. After all, the supreme God, creator of the universe, had exclusively entrusted them with his written revelation. Surely as His people they were first in line?


The Jewish Eschatological Hope

The Eschaton

This Age

(Satan’s Time)

The Age to Come

(The Messianic Kingdom)

Sin

Sickness

Demon Possession

Evil triumphs

Righteousness

Health

Holy Spirit

Peace and goodwill

The Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven.  In the presence of the Ancient of Days, He will be given dominion and glory and a kingdom, so that all peoples, nations, and men of every language will worship Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)

God had in fact promised that a day was coming when “men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zec. 8:23). Their racial pride blinded them to the international aspect of that promise. But not merely pride, they were understandably frustrated. They had rebuilt the holy temple after subjection to the Babylonians and Persians only to suffer the supreme indignity by Antiochus Epiphanes slaughtering swine on the altar of God as an offering to Zeus. Thus a national myopia set in, the Jews saw themselves separate and supreme. Where this fails is in not seeing the underlying spiritual deception influencing these nations. We do not struggle against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. God wants to redeem people of all nations and races.

Eschatological tension reached fever pitch when John the Baptist announced “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” John the Baptist was widely regarded as a true prophet and stands squarely in the prophetic tradition that the Day of the Lord points much more to darkness than to light for those who think they have no sin (Amos 2:4–8; 6:1–7).[ii] Imagine the horror of the Pharisees and Sadducees when John called them a “brood of vipers” (Mat 3:7) and admonished them not to presume their favored status. Later Jesus himself used the same language (Mt 23:33). The Prophet Isaiah had listed specific miracles that only the true Messiah would do. Jesus set about doing each one (e.g., Luke 11:20; Matt 11:2–6) much to the chagrin of the offended religious leaders.

Jesus had announced that the kingdom was at hand (e.g., Mark 1:14–15; Luke 17:20–21) and authenticated himself with the correct signs. The Jewish apostles that made up the early church of course recognized this. Jesus wanted it to be known, even reading from the prophet Isaiah to confirm his intention. Luke records in chapter four “And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
(Lk. 4:17-19)

This was straight from Isaiah 61:1-2 and He also boldly proclaimed “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (v.21). Yet it is quite telling that he stopped halfway through Isaiah 61:2 where “the year of the Lord’s favor” is followed by a comma then “and the day of vengeance of our God.” And there is the rub; the Jews wanted avenging yet Jesus stopped short. No one had understood that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 and the political kingdom entailed two visits with an indefinite interlude reserved for the redemption of the heathen nations. This is where Judaism is still left hanging today, in fact, hardened until the fullness of the gentiles comes in (Rom 11:25). Sadly, they are still waiting “on him whom they have pierced” (Zec. 12:10) because they would not acknowledge His first appearance.

To be continued…


[1]Fee, Gordon D. ; Stuart, Douglas K.: How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI : Zondervan Publishing House, 1993, S. 145

[ii]D. A. Carson, “Matthew” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 103.

Do the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Ride Today?


The four horsemen of the apocalypse appear in Revelation 6:1-8 and correspond to the first four seals of the seven seal scroll. John seems to be drawing on the imagery of Zechariah who also saw riders on colored horses who were sent forth to patrol the earth (Zech.1:8-11). The horses are white, red, black, and pale. They each have a specific mission of judgment to carry out upon the earth. While Hindson argues that the tribulation period commences with the opening of the seals[1], some regard the seals as past, a prelude to the future trumpet and bowl judgments.[2] Not to be confused with preterism, the view I am proposing simply places the seals as historical events culminating at the yet future final seven year tribulation. This idea is compelling in that they parallel the pattern of birth pains given by our Lord in Matthew 24.[3] I still subscribe to the premillennial dispensationalist school of thought in my broader eschatology.

I am theorizing that the horseman are symbols for unseen spiritual entities influencing our space time from an unknown dimension. They parallel God’s past work and the signs given by Jesus in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. A similar sequence of judgment is found in the Old Testament. For example, in Ezekiel 14:21 the Lord says, “How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast!” (ESV) Comparing this verse to Rev. 6, conquest appears to be displaced by wild beasts yet beasts appear as agents of death with the fourth horseman (Rev. 6:8). Other Old Testament references show a similar pattern (cf. Deut. 32:24, 2 Chron. 20:9, Jer. 14:12, Ezek. 6:11–12; 12:16) yet a more concise list of three judgments by combining war and conquest.[4] It is suitable to conclude that the four horsemen parallel God’s historical judgments upon disobedient Israel. Likewise, the birth pains given by the Lord line up with the seals as shown here:

Matthew 24

Revelation 6

False Christ (4-5) False Christ (2)
Wars (6-7) Wars (3-4)
Famine (7) Famine (5-6)
Earthquakes (7) Death / Pestilence (7-8)
Persecutions (9-10) Persecutions (9-11)
Earthquake, solar eclipse, blood red moon, stars falling  (29) Solar and lunar eclipse, stars falling, heavenly bodies shake (12-13)
Tribulation Begins Tribulation Begins

The first horseman rides a white horse, carries a bow, and wears a crown. The white color seems to suggest benevolence and the similarity to Christ riding a white horse in chapter 19 leads some commentators to suggest that this conquest is the spread of the gospel.[5] However, it is unlikely that Christ would take orders from one of the living creatures as we read in verse 6:1. Additionally, it follows that since Christ is the one opening the seals he is not simultaneously inside them and parallelism with the other horsemen suggests a judgment.  As Chuck Missler quips, “He keeps bad company.” Furthermore, he wears a different crown called a stephanos, a victor’s crown, not a diadema, the crown of a sovereign, which is donned by Christ (Rev 19:12). For these reasons, dispensational scholars view this rider as the Antichrist[6]. Alternately, if one chooses to view the seals as the birth pains as I have suggested, this horseman might represent a historical conqueror like Muhammad. He carries a bow as a weapon, suggesting an allusion to Apollo, the bow wielding Greek god who inspired Hellenistic prophecy. Accordingly, the bow probably represents false prophecy.[7]

The second seal unleashes the red horse whose rider is permitted to take peace from the earth. The bright red (pyrros) color suggests divine judgment and bloodshed.[8] Hindson quotes Leon Morris as saying that the conquest initiated by the white horse leads to the conflict related to the red horse.[9] The two do seem to be connected in light of the Old Testament citations discussed above. For that reason, I understand the horsemen to be ongoing and overlapping. The usual dispensational timing places this within the seven year tribulation period. However, I favor it as part of the birth pains like “nation will rise against nation” (Mat 24:7a,ESV) leading up to that phase. In this way John was seeing the culmination of history and one could argue that noteworthy events like World War II are accounted for. Admittedly it is purely speculative but the enormous impact of WWII upon God’s elect Israelites and the consequence of their national reformation on May 14, 1948 is hard to ignore.

The third seal representing famine is realized by a rider on a black horse carrying a pair of scales. The black (melas) color is rare in the NT and symbolizes sinister, dreadful, terrible, sad, unlucky, sorrow and desolation, a likely consequence of the war and bloodshed.[10] The measures and prices given suggest a day’s work to merely eat for the common man.[11] The reference to the oil and wine suggest luxuries not necessary for survival. Perhaps it hints at inequity as the wealthy would have them while the poor were starving (cf. Prov 21:17).[12] In a first century context, scales were normally used by merchants to weigh coins and goods (cf. John 19:39).[13] This suggests we can also view the famine as an economic consequence. As of March 28, 2010, half the world, over three billion people, lives on less than $2.50 a day.[14] While I agree famine and economic depression are surely part of the tribulation proper, when one considers the plight of the third world today it is not hard to envision this judgment as contemporary.

The fourth seal has the living creature call a Pale horse with a rider named Death. The color is the Greek cloros suggesting a sickly green shade one might associate with a corpse. It is also revealed that this horseman is followed by an anthropomorphic Hades. What this means exactly is hard to say but it aptly illustrates hell on earth. Hindson argues that the contingency of the four riders is in view as the rider Death employs the elements of the previous horsemen to accomplish his task.[15] They all add up to the death of one fourth of the earth by sword, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. The sword and famine have already been discussed in connection with the second and third seals. Pestilence is rendered from thanatos, the same word translated “Death” earlier in verse 8. Here it may primarily refer to disease as the cause of death. John MacArthur notes in his commentary that “Throughout human history, disease has killed people on a far more massive scale than war.”[16] He denotes that 30 million people died during the great flu epidemic of 1918–19 which was more than three times the 8.5 million soldiers lost during World War I.[17] This could also help to explain the inclusion of wild beasts as disease is often spread by vermin. Of course we do not have to look far to find contemporary application. AIDS is devastating the third world and particularly Africa.  It is astounding that nearly 7 out of 10 deaths for 2008 were in Sub-Saharan Africa, an area that also has over two-thirds of adult HIV cases.[18] Today we see even more disturbing new pestilences like MRSA appearing that have never been known to man.

Clearly the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are not to be taken lightly. If they are unseen spiritual entities acting on the world, current events seem to support their presence and escalating influence. My opinions are offered with a light touch. Many good scholars see these events as proprietary to the seven year tribulation period. While I respect that view and for the most part am in agreement with their conclusions, I believe the riders are active today. I see them as the birth pains listed by Jesus (Matt 24:8) and like birth pains, the phenomena associated with each rider are occurring closer and closer together. Of course this begs the question, “if the first four seals have been opened, then which seal are we on today?” I believe we are at the fifth seal, persecutions, and according to Voice of the Martyrs there have been more martyrs for Christ in the last 100 years than in all of previous history. Also the fifth is necessarily our current position because the sixth is going to be self evident to the world and it is where I place the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week.  If I am right, the time is near. Maranatha!


[1] Hindson, Edward. Revelation Unlocking the Future. AMG Publishers, 2002, 79.

[2] Keener, C. S. (2000). The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 199.

[3] Hindson, 79.

[4] Keener, C. S., 200.

[5] Hindson,  81.

[6] Hindson,  81.

[7] Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary Volume 4: Hebrews to Revelation. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 289.

[8] Colin Brown, New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 1:657.

[9] Hindson,81.

[10] Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vols. 5-9 Edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 Compiled by Ronald Pitkin., ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), 4:551.

[11] Hindson, 82.

[12] Alan F. Johnson, “Revelation” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 12: Hebrews Through Revelation, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 474.

[13] Clinton E. Arnold, 289.

[14] Global Issues: World Bank Development Issues. http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats (accessed 06 02, 2010).

[15] Hindson, 82.

[16] John MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 184.

[17] Ibid.

[18]AIDS Around the World http://www.globalissues.org/article/219/aids-around-the-world#ScaleoftheAIDSEpidemic (accessed 06 02, 2010).