Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine Flu and the Fourth Horseman

The Four Horsemen of Revelation represent ephochal events that mark the tranistion to a new season in God's plan for history. The first two horseman have already been released.

  • The first horseman is the Islamic Revolution that began in Iran 1978.
  • The second horseman is the Tribal Conflict that spread round the world at the same time.
I have been watching the world for a sign that another next horseman has been released.
  • The third horseman is a famine that spreads to the northern part of the world. It has not been released yet, but could be getting close.
  • The fourth horseman rode a pale horse.
I am wondering if the fourth horseman has been released. Here is what John saw.
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" 8I 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 (Rev 6:7,8).
The opening of the four seal released the rider of a pale sickly horse. The horseman is called “Death”, but this is probably not a good translation. The Greek word is “Thanatos”. This word does mean death, but in the Greek version of the Old Testament (Septuagint) it is used more than thirty times to translate the Hebrew word for “pestilence” (deber).

“Pestilence” is probably a better translation of “thanatos” in this context. This horseman was called Pestilence, and Hades followed him. This suggests that those who have rejected the gospel and are destined to Hades will be more vulnerable to his pestilence.

This horseman was given power to kill people with what appears to be four methods. The construction of the greek text is interesting.
en rhomphaia kai en limos kai en thanatos kai hupo ho therion ho ge
The literal translation of this expressons is:
in sword and in famine and in death and by the animals of the earth
The preposition used for the first three methods is “en”, which is usually translated as “in”, but sometimes as “by”. The preposition for the fourth noun is “upo” meaning “by”. The fourth noun is in the genitive form, whereas the first three are dative This suggests that the last two nouns are not a description of two different methods, but should be linked together. Combining these two nouns gives “pestilence by wild animals”.

The latest version of H1N1 influenza virus contains genetic material that is typically found in strains of the virus that affect pigs and birds, but has mutated into a pestilence that could affects many humans. “Pestilence by animals from the earth” could be a description of pandemic caused by a virus like H1N1.

Southern Man
According to Zechariah 6:6, the black horse travels north, with the white horse following. The red horse is not limited to one direction, but goes all over the earth.

The pale horse goes to the south. I was interested to see that H1N1 virus arrived in New Zealand almost as soon as the pandemic started. The southern hemisphere is going into winter, so the conditions will more conducive to the flu in the south.

John said that the horseman was given power over a third of the earth. This does not refer to the proportion of the world’s population that will die, as he was not given a quarter of the earth, not a quarter of the people. When put together with Zechariah’s message, this indicates that this deadly horseman will attack the southern quarter of the earth.

The fourth horseman is linked with a sword. The Greek word is “romphaia”. It was a large a sabre or broad sword designed for attack in an offensive war. This sword could be a symbol of death, but that seems to be superfluous in the context. The sword is also a symbol of “state power” and this one is large. John seems to be suggesting that the events released with this horseman will lead to an increase in state power. This is already happening. The NZ government has issued regulations giving it emergency powers to control the movements of people to prevent the spread of this disease.

John might also be suggesting that the pestilence might be exacerbated by state intervention. For example, inappropriate use of anti-viral drugs and quarantines might cause the swine flu to mutate to a more serious form that does greater harm.

The pale horse is also linked with famine. The Greek word is “limos”, which means “scarcity of food, dearth, hunger or famine”. A serious consequence of a flue pandemic would be a collapse of trade, particularly for food. If people are afraid to travel, transporting food from growers to local markets will be difficult. Shortages of food will be inevitable. At an international level, governments will be reluctant to import food from countries sickness is endemic. Several governments have already banned imports of Mexican pork.

I do not know if the current outbreak of H1N1 influenza is the fourth horseman, but what we have seen over the last week is a good illustration of what will happen when he is released. The current outbreak may just be a warning event. The real horseman may still belong in the future.

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