And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, "Come and see"And
there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him
that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill
one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, "Come
and see". And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had
a pair of balances in his hand.
And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, "A measure of
wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see
thou hurt not the oil and wine" ~Revelation 6: 3-6
Present day, Lincoln, NE. Sunday morning, September 21st, 8:00 A.M. Year 1 of the last 7 years of the end times
Peace," Pastor Allen's voice rang through the sanctuary, now filled considerably beyond capacity, with dozens of people standing in the back and along the sides of the room, and even some in the aisles. Every person silenced, straining to hear the words of the intriguing sermon.
Pastor Allen stared out at the crowd, his eyes filled with the concern he had for every person here. "When they cry peace, peace, then sudden destruction shall come upon them like a woman in travail" he said. "What does travail mean?" Jed said to his mom. "shhh, I'll explain at the break." she said. Not wanting to miss a word of what would become the most popular sermon ever preached at the 100 year old Morning Glory. Jed was reassured by her calming tone.
Catherine Browne was revered by all who knew her as a solid christian. Her and her husband Johnathan were pillars of the community, respected by all, and rock solid in their faith and their evangelic nature. They were the parents that all the parents wish they could be. As Jed sat there, proud of his parents, and happy to be in church, he thought what a secure feeling it was to know that his family was soundly saved. But lately he hungered for more. As he hunted earlier for his siblings bibles, he felt that it was a privilege rather than a chore. His 2 brothers Justin and Jackson always lost their bibles, and as they looked for them he thought about his sisters Leann and Lauren. How most 12 and 14 year olds were getting lost in make-up and boys and I-pads. As they got ready for church Jed beamed at his family and thought how he would rather be here than anywhere else in the world. He also thought how the kids in school teased him about loving the Lord, "they need to hear this, I hope they're listening", knowing he spotted a few of them earlier. "I need to be more bold like pastor Allen" he thought.
Sam slumped in one of the back pews of Morning glory with his dad and step mom, begrudgingly fulfilling his dad's wish of Sam's regular church attendance. Although it was really more of an ultimatum than a wish, and the only way Sam could borrow the car. If not, there was no way he'd be in here right now. "I can suffer through an hour of this if it means getting my hands on that baby every Saturday." That was the thought that got him through it every week. His dad wasn't exactly rich, but well off enough that it made most of Sam's friends jealous. His Dad, Kevin Johnson, although a devoted Christian, was a man's man. "He wears it well," his colleagues said, meaning he wasn't the stereotypical Christian man, who they all considered wimpy. On the contrary, Kevin was more forceful than most, "Christians shouldn't be wimps" he often told friends. And no one argued with him. 6'4", broad shoulders, square-jawed and confident. He often found himself the leader in most situations, which is where Sam got that trait as well. After his parents divorce, however, Sam went off the deep end, he was rude to his parents and friends he used his presence for negative, more bad than good. He had never respected his mother, blaming her for leaving his dad for no good reason. As he sat in church playing on his tablet, all he could think of was Jessica, this sermon was having no effect on his soul. "Has anyone thought how we ended up in this euphoric state of peace and prosperity?" Pastor Allen continued.
Judy knew. She and her husband had been following the events of the treaty, the war that led to it, and the efforts of Anthony Chardanay very closely. That very morning had started off like every morning for the past 6 months. Her husband Robert would come down for breakfast to her already up and watching the news. "What's the latest, Philly girl?" The nickname always made her chuckle. Referencing the church at Philadelphia in the book of Revelation, the faithful church. She would always be ready for him with the latest news and how it compared to biblical prophecy. As she now sat listening to Pastor Allen, she thought about her parents that passed away earlier that year. Clutching her mom's bible she said, "soon, mom, soon."
Jessica sat in the church library watching the big screen that portrayed Pastor Allen's sermon. She offered to watch the library so Judy could go to the sanctuary. Judy told her to unpack and display the new shipment of end times related materials that Pastor Allen had laid aside. As usual her thoughts were on Sam and their future, no effects were felt from Pastor Allen's sermon. She felt the closest she would get to heaven was with Sam. Every day she spent with that girl made Judy even more concerned about her salvation. She prayed Jessica was paying attention just now, and would get something out of it.
Several hands went up after the Pastor's question, prompting a look of confusion for the rest of those in the room, who were enjoying peace for the first time in history. " I know a Q & A session is not something that you all expected this morning," he said, "However, considering the scope of what I will be covering, I think this is appropriate. Also, I just want to let you know now that this sermon is going to be a lot longer than our usual hour to hour and a half, and instead of an 8, 10, and 12 o'clock sermon, this is going to be one long continuous sermon. I know it probably won't be possible for most of you to stay here for that long, so there will be plenty of reference materials for you at the church bookstore at no charge, as soon as we can put it together." he paused, "Having said that, let me call on a few people to get this first question and answer session going.
First, does anyone have an answer to me question regarding when this peace started?" "Right after the attack on Israel." Judy heard from down near the front row "that's right" pastor Allen said, "anything else?" "the world treaty" Johnathan Brown said, with an air of confidence. "Bingo" pastor Allen said, "the treaty that Guarantees Israels safety for how many years?" "seven" said Johnathan. I'll let that sink in for a minute where have you heard of a seven year treaty between Israel and the rest of the world. silence. it was as if the crowd knew all along but at the same time it was like this was the first time they heard this. Most felt this was the seven year treaty spoken of in Daniel chapter 9, many hands went up, shouting questions, this was as close to a riot you would ever see in a church setting, a controlled frenzy would be a more accurate description, "Quiet,Quiet down" pastor Allen shouted. "are you saying this is the tribulation" came a loud voice from the center of the sanctuary "do you mean we missed the rapture" said another "are you saying that Anthony Chardanay is the antichrist" screamed another "folks, if you all would take your seats, I'll answer all those Questions, and more.
First off I'd like to say this in regards to the rapture. don't confuse the tribulation with God's wrath. 2 clearly distinctly different events. we, meaning soundly saved believers in Christ will be spared God's wrath starting in Revelation Chapter 7. but we are currently in the tribulation , which, my studies tell me, started when Jesus broke the first seal back in 96 AD. when John wrote Revelation. Now it could have been earlier then that since we know that he wrote the book in 96 but how long it took him to write revelation after he had that experience we don't know. all that i know is that the bible refers to the tribulation 22 times and 20 of those refer to the writer currently experiencing the tribulation. not a futuristic event.
Pastor Allen let that sink in before going to his next point. but before he could he was interrupted by questions regarding the previous mentioned tribulation verses, he answered all questions and by the time he continued it was a foregone conclusion that the tribulation was an event that had been going on for the past 1900 years. which in his view point, the four horse men of the apocalypse controlled with peace, war, famine and death. He went on to explain that all these events were increasing in intensity just like Matthew chapter 24 outlined.
The 2nd biggest question was the rapture question. The people who held the pre-trib theory were confused, there had been no rapture yet, however a treaty had been signed. Pastor Allen reminded him that the pre-trib view was unscriptual and no proof of it existed in the bible. "The rapture will take place before God pours out his wrath, in around 3 years or so. But, before that, we must endure the culmination of the other 3 horses. War, Famine and death are on the way, and it's my duty to warn you not too remain secure in a false peace"
5 hours later, thousands poured out into the parking lot of morning glory church, some running, some confused, some scoffing,"That guy's nuts!" they yelled. Others,the majority, kept the discussion alive."I've got to go home and formulate a plan" was the general feeling of most, including Jed, his family, and Judy and her husband. Bob Edwards, however, was stuck in his beliefs. This was the last time he would grace morning glory with his presence. "I'm done here" he told the crowd. "I'm off to sacred palm, my friend, Tracy, told me their preaching is more in line with the peace of Christ, not this fear mongering, who's with me?" Sadly, many followed. Sam ran to get Jessica in the library where she was anxiously waiting for him. They would leave unmoved and uncaring about the whole sermon. Blinded by their passion for each other and their love of what was fun and entertaining. As for Tim Gordon, he was with Tracy and eventually Bob at a liberal Christian church and would also continue to bury his head to the truth. But the truth would soon be revealed to all, and woe to those who refuse to heed its warning.