“A Call For Humility”
Are the four horsemen of the apocalypse signs of the end times during the great 7 year tribulation? Or are they currently riding among us in the form of sin and suffering? This question, like so many others in Revelation, depends on how you read the book. I mentioned in the sermon about a young man who was offended at me for suggesting that the horsemen are present today because of the wars, famines, and plagues we see in the world today. He was so certain that the horsemen are a future reality and cannot have any meaning for the church today. But who can deny that cancer and AIDS bear some resemblance to Death, the fourth horseman?
I don’t want to sound flippant about Bible interpretation, but sometimes the meaning of prophecy is difficult to ascertain. So I would ask that we all be gracious and humble with one another as we wrestle with these visions. And consider Daniel’s reaction to one of his visions:
ESV Daniel 8:27 And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king's business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.
If you’ve ever felt discouraged about not understanding prophecy…don’t worry…you’re in good company! Sometimes even the prophets don’t comprehend what they are seeing and writing about. That doesn’t make the prophecy meaningless! But it does mean we should be very careful in how we interpret prophecy. Sometimes, we talk as if our view is the right one and all the others are foolish and stupid. But intelligent Christians throughout the centuries have come to different conclusions than us. For some reason, the church loves to draw up lines to divide us from others who hold different views. That’s what pride does.
It is helpful here to distinguish between dogma, doctrine, and opinion. Dogma is essential to the Gospel. If someone teaches things contrary to the Gospel, they are condemned by God (Gal1:9). A doctrine is an important belief, but not essential. Some of prophecy falls in this category like the 1,000 year reign of Christ in Revelation 20. Opinion is an interesting belief but might not be important to the church. The identity of the first horseman would fall into this category.
To be honest, through the years, my own views have grown and changed. I’ll talk more about that on Sunday when we deal with the rapture of the church. But even if you find that you disagree with me, let’s agree that Revelation is about Jesus and look for him on every page! And let’s all agree on this:
CHRIST IS COMING BACK!