Posted May 13, 2020 by Michael L. Brown

The same, unusual subject came up three times on the same day, this past Monday, May 11. Was God sending a message to me about the end of the world, taken straight from the pages of the Book of Revelation?

First, a caller to my radio show asked if we might be in the first phase of the breaking of the seven seals in the Book of Revelation and therefore in the beginning of “the tribulation.”

Then, a friend left a message on my cell phone asking what he should make of a respected Christian leader in another country telling him that the first of the seven seals was being opened?

Then, I spotted this headline featured on Drudge Report: “‘Four Horsemen are ACTIVE’ Bible scholars claim Book of Revelation seals broken...” As the article explained, “Bible scholars have sensationally claimed the end of the world could be upon us as they believe the Four Horsemen, who bring about death, war, famine and disease before the return of Jesus Christ in the holy book, have all been released.”

What are we to make of these questions and claims? And what of the statements of these “Bible scholars”?

Not surprisingly, the article that claimed the support of biblical scholars was published in the UK’s Express, known for its sometimes sensationalistic reporting.

As for the scholars, the article quoted none. Instead, it referenced a 2005 article by a non-scholar and then – I kid you not – the article cited a twitter user. So much for the notion that “Bible scholars have sensationally claimed the end of the world could be upon us.”

The only thing sensational was the headline, followed by the article itself.

“But,” someone might say, “what about Revelation? What does it say?”

How about we take look?

For argument’s sake, we’ll agree that that these prophecies are still for the future (rather than being symbolic of past events). And we’ll agree that these prophecies refer to literal events that will unfold on the earth.

Let’s examine each of the four horsemen.

Revelation 6 begins with these words: “I watched as the Lamb meaning Jesus] opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest” (Revelation 6:1–2, NIV).

Where, pray tell, is this world-conquering figure? And how has he emerged since the pandemic began?

Let’s call this strike one.

The text continues, “When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, ‘Come!’ Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword” (Revelation 6:3–4, NIV).

How, pray tell, has peace been taken from the earth? And are people killing each other more today than during World War II? Or World War I? Or, here in America, during the Civil War?

Strike two.

Back to Revelation: “When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, ‘Come!’ I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, ‘A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.’” (Revelation 6:5–6, NLT)

Could it be that massive famine will overtake the entire world because of the financial meltdown? It’s possible, but we are nowhere near that now. As for the fact that many more people face potential starvation because of the pandemic, that is a tragic reality. But it is hardly what is described here.

We’re now up to strike three. But since there are four horsemen, let’s give it one more shot.

“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, NIV).

A fourth of the earth, at present, would amount to almost two billion people, whereas the pandemic has taken less than 300,000 lives. This represents .00015 percent of that number.

Call this strike four.

That’s why I tweeted this later that same day (Monday): “A caller today wanted to know if we might be experiencing the divine judgments of the seven seals in Revelation and therefore ‘in the tribulation.’ I told her that when that time comes, she won't need to call into my show to ask.”

That also means that, if the Christian leader who called my friend is right and the first of the seven seals has been opened, things will change in front of our eyes more quickly and dramatically than we can imagine.

Will that happen? We shall see. But I can say without hesitation it is not happening yet.

On March 2, I wrote my first article on COVID-19, titled, “Is the Coronavirus an End-Time Biblical Plague?” (This has been expanded into a full chapter in my new book When the World Stops: Words of Hope, Faith, and Wisdom in the Midst of Crisis.)

My answer then was no. My answer remains the same today.

This is not to minimize the very real suffering caused by the pandemic. Nor is it to minimize end-time Bible prophecy. Quite the opposite. My goal is simply to put things in proper perspective.

In short, we have not yet reached the end of the world. When we get to that point in time, we won’t need an article in the Express to let us know.


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tjbailey posted a comment · May 18, 2020
To Swkh310, You are quite correct: the beginning of the end times started with the birth of Jesus Christ. And the end times were sealed with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Plus the birth pangs of Matthew 24 have been increasing over the past 2000 years. To westcloudrising, I have great respect for Dr. Brown as well, but he is quite correct. In your response you mention many areas of the 6 seals. The number one seal that has not happened is the one world leader. And you did not mention it, so i would have to agree with Dr. Brown - the seals have not been opened. This covid thing is a birth pang, and a walk in the park compared to the start of the tribulation.
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texasaggie posted a comment · May 13, 2020
In the Book of Daniel I believe the anti-Messiah has to make his peace deal between all of the surrounding nations and Israel at the beginning of the seven year tribulation. Things are kind of heading in that direction but there are still many neighboring countries that wouldn't even think about making peace with Israel at this stage. Turkey? Iran? And more. The end times events in the Bible are Israel-centric according to Joel Richardson.
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westcloudsrising posted a comment · May 13, 2020
Most pastors and end-times experts will point to the signs of Matthew 24 as evidence that we are living in the end-times. They will typically also state that Jesus has not opened the seals. The problem with this position is that these scriptures are describing the same events; one from an earthly perspective and one from a heavenly perspective. The signs in Matthew 24 are the same and in the exact order as the first six seals. The language used in Matthew 24:29-31 to describe the signs in the heavens is nearly identical to the language that describes the sixth seal In Revelation 6. Following the sixth seal, both Matthew and Revelation describe the elect; both the 144k Jews and the raptured saints in chapter 7. These are the same events. It is not rational to argue otherwise. The same people that argue that nations(peoples) are rising against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms will deny that peace has been taken from the earth in the second seal. Turn on the TV. Look at any news site. Read social media. What is the tone of politicians, races of people, countries, and your neighbors? Is there any room for dialogue and differing points of view? Has peace been taken from the earth? How are you hearing my tone right now as you read this comment? Is it hostile or calm? Are there false prophets? Is there pestilence? Is there famine? Is martyrdom on the rise? Dr. Brown - I heavily respect your opinion, but in all honesty, you have written about all these signs manifesting very recently but deny that the seals that correspond to these signs have been opened. The seals and signs are warnings, not God's judgement and wrath upon the earth. God's wrath begins to be poured out after the sixth seal, as described in Revelation 6:16. I believe we have seen the first five seals opened. After the first five signs(seals) in Matthew 24, the next event that Jesus describes is the abomination of desolation. This is at least 3 1/2 years from now. Between now and then these signs will continue to manifest and grow worse.
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Swkh310 posted a comment · May 13, 2020
Excuse me, but haven’t we been living in the “End Times” for the last 2000 years?