And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine."Revelation 6:6(NASB)
The seven seals of Revelation 6 begin to lay-out the chronological progression of the Great Tribulation. The first four judgments depict four horsemen, who gallop onto the world scene bringing devastation and distress to a world that has rejected God's offer of salvation, through faith in Christ's sacrificial death on Calvary and His glorious resurrection from the dead.
For 6000 years God has given man the opportunity to turn to Him for the salvation of their soul, but the opening of the seal judgments will indicate that the Day of the Lord, has finally started - when God will pour out His wrath on a Christ-rejecting, sinful world. Sin must be punished, and those who refuse to seek forgiveness of their sin NOW... in the Age of Grace, will have to face the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation.
Christ took the punishment for our sin. Christians are not appointed to wrath because God's wrath was poured out on Jesus in our stead - 2000 years ago. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of God's wrath was upon Him in place of us and with His stripes, we are healed. Because we are identified with Him, our sin has already been judged and the penalty has already been paid. But how terrible for the unsaved, who will see the Day of the Lord arrive and witness the unsealing of those seven seal judgments.
Following in the pattern of the previous two horsemen, John watched as the Lamb on the throne broke the third seal. He heard the third living creature give the sombre command to "Come". And as John watched the black horse enter the scene, he saw that its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. - "I heard something like a voice in the centre of the four living creatures." John wrote, "saying, 'A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.'"
The third seal depicts the shocking, global famine that will sweep through a world that has been ravaged by the second rider, on his red horse, who brings great carnage to the world through war. This third charger is an ominous black horse, who brings in his wake unprecedented food shortages across the globe, and his rider will usher in a time of great hardship, terrible scarcity, and unprecedented death.
Its formidable rider makes his presence known after the third living creature gives his command to, "Come and see." He carries a pair of balance scales, to signal the approach of the most terrible famine the world has ever experienced. During this time, food will become very scarce. Every grain of wheat and barley will be measured out and starvation will touch the lives of both the rich and the poor.
Throughout history there have been wars and famine, starvation and plagues, death and great suffering, but the shocking happenings that are to take place in this coming time of trouble, will be a period unequalled in the history of the world. While there are those today, who suffer and die as a result of war and starvation, the black horse and his sinister rider will bring to the world a famine that has far-reaching effects, as the finely balanced ecology of the world crashes down, and plunges the globe into a period of scarcity, hitherto unknown in our current world of plenty.
Worldwide famine will cause drastic food shortages and the cost of food will spiral to unbelievable heights. Even those fortunate enough to have a job will be affected, for a day's wage will only buy a meagre amount of food. A daily wage will only buy sufficient for one person - for one day. The inevitable result of terrible war is terrible famine, great depression, unprecedented misery - and the final result must be starvation and death for multitudes.
There are those that ask why God allows things like war and famine to happen. The short answer is SIN, and the culprit is SATAN. Only good and perfect things come from our Father above, but during this time of Tribulation, His hand of protection will be withheld and the restraining power of praying Christians will have ceased - for only after the Rapture of the Church will the man of sin be revealed, and the four horsemen released to spread their carnage over the world, as the seals of judgment begin to be broken.
While the cost of wheat and the less expensive barley reaches hugely inflated prices, we hear a commanding voice in the centre of the four living creatures giving an order that has baffled many scholars, "and do not damage the oil and the wine." Some suggest that this means that the wealthy will still be able to enjoy their luxuries, while others suggest it is connected with the need for consecrated oil, for sacrifices to God. However, I would suggest that this is one more demonstration of God's amazing grace towards rebellious mankind.
The story of Job makes it clear that God places limits on Satan's ability to kill and to maim. And God in His wisdom has limited this time of Great Tribulation to 7 years - but how terrible for those that watch these four horsemen gallop onto the world scene, in the not too distant future.
May we do all we can in the time we have left to tell out the news of the gospel of grace and pluck many from the fires of judgement that are soon to fall.
Loving Heavenly Father, as I consider the fast-approaching time of world-wide judgement, when deception, war, famine, death, and great tribulation will engulf the world in the near future, I pray that You would have mercy on many souls that are yet unsaved. I pray that the gospel would be preached in the corner-shops, the streets, people's work, and on the internet, so that many would come to faith during this Church-age of grace, and I pray that a multitude without number would be saved from the Great Tribulation that is yet to come. This I pray in Jesus' name and for His greater glory, AMEN.