The Signs of the Times (13): Death

editor - 16 September 2018

“…When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth…”
Revelation 6:7-8

The Lamb opens the fourth seal and the pale horse appears with its rider. The colour ‘chloros’ can also be translated as green, the colour of grass. In Leviticus 13:49 and 14:37 it’s the pale colour that has to do with leprosy. And this rider even has a name: death, and ‘Hades’ followed closely behind him.

The four horsemen ride behind each other and also beside each other. The three final ones are given the power over a fourth of the earth to kill through war, famine, plague, contagious diseases and the wild beasts of the earth.

War leaves a trail of destruction. Famine is the first to follow, and then contagious diseases will develop rapidly. The wild beasts of the earth are seen by some as bacteria/viruses and other pathogenic organisms, as the smallest of living creatures. The Greek word ‘therion’ for beast is also used for the beast that comes out of the sea, the beast that rises up from the sea of nations in Revelation 13.

How badly were the people of Egypt afflicted and ravage by the wild plagues of beasts, frogs, gnats, flies, locusts and boils. It will now affect the entire earth. The 10 plagues of Egypt (Exodus 7-11) on a worldwide-scale. The wages for sin were death, and the great dying of mankind and nature is now setting in.

The Lord has warned us, and now it is about to happen. He who leaves God behind has to fear sorrow upon sorrow. And ultimately death. When the iniquity of man has reached its full measure, there’s nothing that can stop it. ‘I will not look on you with pity or spare you’, He says in Ezekiel 5:11.

And yet: in the opening of all of these seals there is still lingering on a deep purpose of love. Gradually the seals are being opened already for centuries, but in the last and final days they will come to a climax. It will be dreadful all over the world. But the Gospel of the Kingdom is still riding out as well, being the first horseman on the first horse. His voice is still calling: ‘Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28) This message of love, this call of repentance is still accompanying the other riders.

The judgements that will come at an increasing pace are a final warning for the nations, visible in war, famine, plague and death. But they still continue to have the intention to bring people to repentance. To drive them out to the only One who can save them. Who even can save the world, for that matter. To Jesus Christ who was crucified. To finally fall down as weary sinners at the foot of the cross. Just like the composer Wagner did at the end of his life, to the great dismay of his friend the philosopher Nietzsche. He went from an exuberant paganism to a personal, intimate, almost ‘mystical’ Christian faith.

Nietzsche as a philosopher taught about the ‘Übermensch’. About the ‘Superman’, the ultimate Aryan race, the final stage of the ladder of evolution. The ultimate goal. The Nazis even tried to create, to breed this super human being. Had they known about DNA and genetic engineering they would have tried to reach this ultimate goal, this final development of man as a species by these new medical technologies. Whereas the Bible shows that the peak of mankind one-day will be the beast. The man of lawlessness. The anti-Christ. Jesus Christ was the least of all men, Isaiah 53, but He became our Saviour and will be the coming King of kings and the Lord of lords. Bringing eternal life and even bodily resurrection, Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15.

How awful were these ideas about the ‘Űbermensch’, the Aryan master race, rampant in the Third Reich of the Nazis in Germany. Despising everything that Jews and Christians believe in. Ideas about the final stage of ‘evolution’ – everything keeps moving upwards, until the final stage has been reached – were at German universities closely tied to racism, leading to these disastrous ideas about ‘Untermenschen’ and ‘Űbermenschen’. The ‘survival of the fittest’ was necessary – they believed – to move forward the process of evolution. Jews belonged to the ‘Untermenschen’. Almost below humanity. An in-between type of animal, somewhere between beast and man, not completely human. Sometimes compared to rats and parasites. ‘Survival of the fittest’ requested that they should be terminated. This led to the ‘final solution’: kill them all. Wipe out these ‘rats’ of society: the Jews.

The mentally handicapped, homosexuals and Bible believing Christians were targeted as well. In Paderborn they were breeding an elite race of pure Aryans.

Didn’t the theory of evolution teach the survival of the fittest? And so lesser species had to be eliminated to allow the strongest and best to move up on the ladder of the evolution process. Get rid of the weaklings. Man as god. Awful.

The Signs of the Times
Many people are afraid of the future. Will the turmoil in the world lead to World War III? Or is there still hope? What do the ancient prophecies of the Bible teach us? Are we at the beginning of the end of this world? Or are we approaching a new beginning? Could Israel be a sign of hope? In this new series Rev. Willem Glashouwer looks at 52 of the many signs of the times that are mentioned in the Bible.The English edition of ‘The Signs of the Times’ will be published by Christians for Israel International in the coming months.

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