posted on Mar, 20 2020 @ 06:03 PM
That is to say, the sequence of public events on earth begins with a pandemic.
The first three chapters set the terms of the problem, as it were.
They present the situation which the church is facing in the world, where there is tribulation in the form of persecution.
The next two chapters show us God, in his power, and express his determination to put things right.
The “slain Lamb” has earned the right to open the scroll of history, and that’s the act which sets in motion the rest of Revelation.
As each seal is broken, the events of the sixth chapter are released into the world.
Each of the four “living creatures” standing around God’s throne summons out one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”.
The traditional understanding of these four horsemen was that they represented “Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death”.
We’re concerned, for the moment, with the identification of the first horseman as “Pestilence”, or “Plague”.
The clue is in the fact that the first horseman carries a bow.
In the religion of ancient Greece, this was the weapon of the plague-and-healing god Apollo, “the god who strikes from afar”.
There’s an episode at the beginning of Homer’s Iliad, in which his flying arrows are wreaking havoc in the Greek camp;
“The arrows rattled on the shoulders of the angry god as he moved, and his coming was like the night. Then he sat down apart from the ships and let
fly an arrow; terrible was the twang of the silver bow…then on the men themselves he let fly his stinging arrows and struck; and ever did the pyres
of the dead burn thick. For nine days the missiles of the god ranged through the army…”- Iliad, Book One, ll45-53
This is the description of a plague.
The same image is to be found in the Psalms;
“You will not fear the terror of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day,
Nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Nor the destruction that wastes at noonday”- Psalm 91 vv5-6
Bearing in mind how Hebrew poetry likes to say the same thing in different ways, we can understand this as the same picture that Homer is using.
It’s an association of ideas which the ancient world would have recognised, and that’s why it appears in this vision.
The “conquering” of the first horseman can hardly be human conquest, for then there would be no difference between the first horseman and the
second horseman, who “takes peace from the earth”.
But “conquest” is a very appropriate way of describing the devastating effect of a widely-spreading pestilence- what we in the modern world would
call a pandemic.
The picture in this chapter is that the four horsemen are coming in quick succession.
The three causes of death- Plague, War, and Famine- fan out across the world, while “Death” itself follows on close behind them to pick up the
It’s easy to imagine how there might be a “feedback” effect.
As these disasters are developing and merging into one another, they might be helping to aggravate one another.
The social effects of a really serious pandemic would be “taking peace from the earth”.
In the early stages, particularly weakened countries might be attacked by opportunistic neighbours.
But a more general social breakdown, if things got that far, would itself be a loss of “peace”.
All modern cities, and some entire countries, depend upon the food they bring in from elsewhere.
So a general social breakdown, by disrupting the growing of food and the transportation of food, would aggravate any shortages.
Any shortage of food would aggravate the loss of peace, by giving people something to fight over, at national and at street level.
A general social breakdown, in the middle of a time of death, could also result in dead bodies remaining unburied, and then we’re back at pestilence
In the sixth chapter of Revelation, Death is given power over “a quarter of the earth”.
But the sixth chapter is by no means the last chapter in the story.
This time of devastation comes to a end.
The forces of destruction are “put on hold” (ch7 v1).
The world is able to take a breather.
THEN, and only then, does the power of “the Beast” arise, and the story of Revelation comes to a climax in the later chapters.
My interpretation of the sequence is that the appearance of the Beast is the natural product of the world’s experience of the “Four
The Beast would be able to rise to power on the strength of leading and organising the world into recovering from the catastrophe.
If the first Beast of ch13 is a political state, then the apparent “mortal wound” could be the way it collapses, or even disintegrates, along with
the rest of the world, under the impact of the “Four Horsemen” events.
The “healing” of the mortal wound would then be an unexpected and vigorous recovery, arousing both the astonishment and the enthusiasm of the
world at large, as the recovery of this body pulls along the rest of the world and brings the social order back to life.
All this, if my theory is right, following on from the arrival of a pandemic.
I should add that I don’t categorically claim any current epidemic as the “first horseman”.
In fact the “first horseman” should not have arrived yet; the events of Revelation are depicted in the first few chapters as God’s response to
the tribulation of the church, which triggers them off.
I’m not convinced that the tribulations of the church at large have reached that kind of level.
Nevertheless, it’s as well to be aware of the possibilities.
Taken separately, Plague and War and Famine are all obvious threats and frequently discussed on these forums.
This chapter simply combines them together, and also (by implication) relates the resulting time of catastrophe to the later growth of “world
government”, which is another ATS area of interest.
And if the prophecies of Revelation are going to be fulfilled at all, this sixth chapter is the first portion of the book that we should expect
to see reflected in current events.
So there we have it.
The public events of Revelation begin with a pandemic.
We are currently in the early stages of a pandemic.
Even if it is not the same one, it is precisely the kind of event that anyone who takes the book seriously needs to be looking out for.