(Read Part 22)
The four main categories of tribulation judgments are the seal judgments, the trumpet judgments, the thunder judgments and the bowl judgments. The judgments become progressively harsher during the seven-year tribulation period. Jesus discussed the progressive nature of the tribulation judgments in His powerful, prophetic instruction to His disciples in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25).
You can review this progression of these judgments by means of the chart below. We will be expanding upon this distinctly dispensational doctrine of the birthing process of Jesus Christ’s theocratic millennial kingdom in upcoming articles, beginning with this one.
“The World is Stunned by a Large Number of People Unexplainably Missing.” This could very well appear as the breaking news story in the near future. God promised to remove the Christians, dead and alive from the earth, in a one-time glorious event known as the coming rapture of the church age saints (1 Thess. 4:13-18). In short order after the rapture, God the Father will hand Jesus Christ a scroll “sealed with seven seals” (Rev. 5:1). Scholars often refer to the scroll as the “Title Deed to the Earth.”
Jesus will methodically unroll the scroll—removing one of the seven seals at a time—until the scroll is fully open. Each of the seven seals symbolically represent literal horrific judgments that the inhabitants of the Earth will face. Take note of the very important word literal.
Dispensational hermeneutics or, more simply stated, the proper interpretation of the Bible, requires that the readers and interpreters of the Scriptures do so in a literal manner. God uses apocalyptic or symbolic language (see the previous two blogs in this series), but God reveals the literal meaning of the symbols in the Scriptures. This methodology will become evident as we examine the first four seal judgments, properly described as the four horses of the apocalypse (Revelation).
First Seal: White Horse—Antichrist/
Violent War or Political Victory
Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Rev. 6:1-2).
The rapture will result in the Antichrist, the rider on the white horse, arriving on the world scene, and within an unspecified period confirming a peace covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:27). The rider appears only with a bow, and no arrows, yet he is wearing a stephanos or “victor’s crown.” The inference is that the Antichrist expended all of his arrows in conquering or that he did not use violence, but politics, to gain his authority in the world.
Second Seal: Red Horse—Men Slaying Each Other
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Rev. 6:3-4)
The red color of the horse suggests severe bloodshed as the results of wars (Matt. 24:6) and violence among fellow citizens.
We will continue next time by thinking about the third and fourth seals, which involve black and pale horses, respectively.
Here we stand; we cannot, and must not, be moved from this distinctive dispensational doctrine.
(Read Part 24)
Dr. Richard Schmidt is the founder of Prophecy Focus Ministries, having previously served as a pastor and church planter. His love for the prophetic Scriptures resulted in writing a doctoral dissertation on a dispensational perspective on the mystery church age existing between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. Dr. Schmidt offers seminars on a variety of prophetic topics to local churches and conferences. We are very excited to involve him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.
Copyright © 2017 by Dr. Richard Schmidt. Used by permission of the author.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 David M. Levy, Revelation: Hearing the Last Word (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1999), p. 86.
 Ibid., p. 88.
 Charles C. Ryrie, Revelation (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1996), p. 55.
Recently, I have been thinking carefully about the impact of 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 with reference to the beginning of the Day of the LORD and how it relates to these first two horsemen of the apocalypse. The issue in my mind has been the relationship to there being a time of peace and safety (1 Thess. 5:3) with the white horse coming. It seems more natural to see 1 Thess. 5:2-3 as saying that there is peace and safety before the Day of the LORD begins, but then you have to answer how it can be that there is this ambiguous period at the time of the white horse. This ambiguity is illustrated in your citation of Ryrie, seeing that he seems to leave the question open since we don’t see mention of arrows. I might prefer to assume that the fact that he has a bow and is said to conquer should be taken as suggestion that he does exert violence in doing so, being a more natural reading. This need not contradict the peace promised to Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation (per Daniel 9), as this and 1 Thess. 5 are referring to the world in general. Yet, we are still faced with dealing with the fact that peace leaves the earth at the Red Horse. This would seem to suggest that the white horse does leave things in a state of some peace, even though he conquers. Perhaps we can say that the Antichrist does come conquering, bringing destruction to some, then leading to some degree of peace for a time, and then the destruction becomes even more at the red horse. This may be slightly different than some dispensationalists, but it seems to fit the details here fairly well.