Note: to help set a good tone for this story, click here for audio.
Having written quite a bit about Bible prophecy, I received some e-mails about a news story in today’s WorldNetDaily. The story showed a TV-news video from the unrest in Egypt, and asked the question of whether an image shown could be the “Pale Rider” described in the Holy Bible’s prophetic text in Revelation 6:8.
Short answer: no!
(For a larger view of above image, click here.)
There are several ways to disprove the “Pale Rider” scenario.
The first is linguistically. The image is a pale green. But, the word that is translated “pale” in some English versions of the Holy Bible is translated as “ashen” in other versions. An analysis of the Greek word chloros — from which we get the name of the chemical “chlorine” — could initially suggest a pale-green horse and rider. However, the word as used in this context more correctly suggests a sickly-greenish-yellow color — about the color that many leaves turn during Autumn in a warm climate such as that of the island of Patmos, where the Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saint John was written. Those sickly-colored dry leaves “just happen” to also be some of the best material for starting a campfire, after which they turn “ashen” colored.
But, just for the sake of argument, let’s presume for a moment that the TV image is the correct color. There are other problems. One is that nobody can see the horse or its rider. It passes through the crowd totally unnoticed. Would that be the case for an event of “truly Biblical proportions”?
There is no guesswork needed to answer the above question. Two examples are given in the Old Testament stories about the prophet Elijah and his understudy, Elisha. At the moment that Elijah is taken up into Heaven, a chariot of fire — pulled by horses of fire — appears and goes between Elijah and Elisha as they are walking. (2nd Kings 2:11) It was not invisible. Elisha saw it, was amazed by it, and he later reported the event to the other prophets back at their camp.
After the departure of Elijah, the chief prophet was Elisha. The king of Aram wanted to assassinate the king of Israel, but repeatedly Elisha had warned the king of Israel to be on guard at certain times and places, thus foiling the plots of the king of Aram. So, the king of Aram sent his army to hunt down Elisha. They located his camp and surrounded it with many horses and soldiers. Elisha’s servant was afraid, but Elisha remained calm. The servant asked Elisha why he was not afraid, and Elisha replied, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Still, the servant was afraid. So then, Elisha prayed that God would allow the servant to see what Elisha could see. God briefly opened the servant’s eyes to the spiritual world, and the servant could see that the Aramean army was surrounded by many more chariots and horses — again, made of fire. The next morning, tens of thousands of Aramean soldiers – all of the force sent against Elisha — were dead. (2nd Kings 6:10-17)
There are various ranks of angels. The greater angels are of great size, and instantly cause fear in the hearts of humans that see them. King David saw a destroying angel standing over the city of Jerusalem — with his sword stretched out over the entire city! Thus, that angel must have been enormous. (1st Chronicles 21:16) Some of the fallen angels, thrown out of Heaven, mated with the daughters of men and produced the Nephilim: the race of super-human giants. Goliath was one of the last of that race. His height was “six cubits and a span”, which equals nine feet and four inches in our modern language! If he was at the end of that genetic line, mingled with normal humans, then his ancestors must have been even bigger. And they, in turn, were only half-breeds. (The fallen angels must have been even bigger than the original Nephilim!) The horses and riders of Revelation go out to cause various events upon the entire Earth. Thus, they are major angels. They would not be of such small size compared to the people in the TV-news video. And, if they were visible on television, then they would be visible in real life. They were not.
The opening of the fourth seal, and the pale horse and rider, are discussed in detail on pages 37-39 of my book, Tribulation: 2008. In order for the horse and rider in the TV-news video to be the same as described in Revelation, then they would need to match every detail of that description. They do not. The most glaring difference is that the TV-news horse and rider do not kill anyone. And, they most certainly do not kill “with death” (Greek: thanatos), as described in Revelation. The meaning of killing “with death” is explained in my book.
Admittedly, there could be a logical argument made that killing with “death” (sometimes translated as “pestilence”) could be interpreted as referring to the widespread use of chemical weapons against a broad population. And, such a threat is certainly plausible in our modern age. However, such an argument ignores the spiritual aspects of the use of the Greek word thanatos, as it would’ve been understood in the Apostle John’s time. To gain such an understanding, one would need to attend an Orthodox Christian midnight service to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and absorb the richness of the meaning of the phrase “trampling down death by death“. It was the voluntary death of Jesus that destroyed the sting of death itself. In the Greek version of the resurrection hymn, it is thanatos that is defeated. The use of chemical weapons is a relatively quick way to kill off large numbers of people, but it lacks the spiritual quality that thanatos implies. And, again, if the TV-news image were actually the Fourth Horseman, and if the use of chemical weapons were the meaning, then where is the result?
The horse and rider in the video are alone. But, the horse and rider in Revelation 6:8 are not alone. The rider’s name is Death, “and Hades was following with him”. (Some translations say “Hell”.) Hades is the realm of the dead. In the Christian view, it is the waiting place for the bad souls that have died — waiting for the final judgement. (The good souls await in Paradise. Jesus told the penitent thief, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43) The fact that the “Pale Rider” in the video is alone means that he does not match the description in Scripture. Therefore, it cannot be the Fourth Horseman of Revelation.
In a further examination of this single verse, there is another reason that the video cannot show the Fourth Horseman. No one is dying! The Fourth Horseman kills more people than any of the others: one-fourth of Earth’s population! (It is the only horseman for which there is a death-toll written.) There was one period in our global history in which people were killed in a systematic, large-scale way. My book describes it, and shows how the number could have been as large as one-fourth of the population. (Of course, we might never know the true number, because much of the killing was done in remote areas of repressive countries. But, the numbers were so large that governments could not keep an accurate count.)
And, now, the technological angle.
Television technology has advanced to the point that “alternative reality, in real time” is not only possible but actually somewhat routine. The best-known example is the TV broadcast of professional football games. On the field, viewers now see multi-colored images of arrows, lines, etc., to indicate information about the status of the game. Those arrows and lines are not really there, on the grass of the playing field. But, they seem to be there. And, the players run “over” the images that seem to be on the grass, just as though those images really were on the grass. That is “alternative reality” technology. If one wanted, and had access to the right technology, then one could broadcast — in real time — alternative images of … let’s say … a well-known Christian speaker teaching that Allah is the same as God — even though it is not true, and even though that particular speaker never said it. That technology, which is only a few years old, could produce the “lying signs and wonders” that the Bible warns about.
I believe that the “Pale Rider video” is a weak example of an attempt to use such technology. I do not know if the image was inserted into the original EuroNews broadcast, or only into the YouTube version that is circulating the Internet. But, as noted in the WorldNetDaily report, there are some small dots of light that move at the same time — and at the same speed, and in the same direction — as the “Pale Rider”. That is an indication that something is amiss technologically. I do not know if the image was inserted intentionally (although my opinion does lean in that direction), or if it was the result of some freak combination of reflections on the lens. (For example, the cloth banners along the street, blown by the wind, combined with perhaps the reflection of a portion of a utility pole.) Among other things, it appears to me that the “rider” is sitting backwards on the horse. That would not be something that happens to a rider sent out by God. But, it could happen to a lying image sent out by Satan.
Ultimately, I believe that the “Pale Rider video” is a lie of Satan. It matters not if Satan employed a person to use technology to insert the image, or if the image was a “freak accident” — it is still a “lying wonder” from The Enemy. Among other things, the image could be used to cause people to believe that we are at the “fourth seal” point on the prophetic timeline. That would, in turn, give people a false sense of security about the soon return of Jesus. Why? Because, as my book explains, we are much farther along that timeline now! (The fourth seal was opened in the late 1930s.) If people think that our world is 70 years farther behind the timeline than we really are, then a certain portion of the population will feel that they can simply ignore Jesus for awhile longer, and still be “safe”. I can almost hear Satan laughing over that idea.
There is a well-known story about a Treasury agent that meets a foreign dignitary. The dignitary asks about the agent’s job. The agent explains that he arrests people for making counterfeit money. The dignitary exclaims that the agent must spend a lot of time studying fake money. The agent explains that, no, he spends a lot of time studying real money, and thus the fake money stands out quickly and easily. In like manner, Christians must discipline themselves to study the real words of the Holy Bible, instead of the watered-down fakery that is so widely distributed by people that make a lot of money by blathering on television. Then, we can experience the joy of knowing the real Jesus, and also experience the satisfaction of being able to ignore the lying signs and wonders that are sent to distract us from Him.