Revelation 5:5-6 (KJV)
5 And when he had 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.
6 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 the wine.
In previous blogs, we posed this question: "What if the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are not symbolic references pertaining to war in general, but rather specific leaders in the world today?" Now, we will take a look at the black horse, the balances in hand, and the measurements.
Who is Isis?
The Islamic state of Iraq and Syria. Also known as IS, Islamic State, ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and Daesh. It is a Salafi Jihadist militant group that follows a fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam (as does Saudi Arabia).
This group currently controls portions of territory in Iraq and Syria and has taken part in many battles and wars. They have been a participant in the Iraq War, Iraqi insurgency, Iraqi Civil War, Syrian Civil War, 2nd Libyan Civil War, Boko Haram insurgency, War in Afghanistan, Yemeni Civil War, and other conflicts.
"Everything you need to know about about when the Islamic state rose to power and how daesh will end" - as reported by the International Business Times.
It began in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. Invasion, and the fall of Saddam Hussein was crucial to the group's formation. When Hussein was toppled, the U.S. supported interim government was quickly populated by Shiites. Many Iraqi Sunnies felt threatened by this power shift. At this time, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi saw the chaos in Iraq as opportunity to form his very own terror group there, which he named Al-Qaeda. Abu had previously spent time in Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden, waging a brutal campaign of guerrilla attacks against US and Iraqi forces.
He had an intense hatred for Shiites, whom he targeted to incite sectarian violence. His methods were so brutal, he was continually admonished by Al-Qaeda leadership. He had a dream of establishing a modern day caliphate, and continued his bloody campaign until he was cut down by a US airstrike in 2006.
After following successors were also eliminated, the ailing organization was then inherited by a man named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who took power after the US coalition forces withdrew Iraq in 2011. Amidst lingering sectarian and interethnic violence, he staged a violent resurgence and increased the overall regional chaos. The armed insurrection turned into a civil war in neighboring Syria. Baghdadi expanded his reign and changed it's name to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It's goal is to establish a functioning Islamic State.
Through the use of social media, the group has successfully attracted tens of thousands of followers across the world. In 2014, it raised it's flag over Mosul in 2014 and declared a new caliphate that would reach from Aleppo Syria, to Diyala Iraq. A state governed by an Islamic leader (caliph), which is a person considered to be a religious successor to Muhammad, and a leader of the entire Muslim community. ISIS has been particularly cruel to Shiites and Christians. They have also been accused of wide spread human rights abuse. They routinely imprison, torture, rape, and execute those whom they accuse of not abiding by their strict interpretation of Islam and Sharia law.
ISIS has its roots in Wahhabism, which insists on the literal interpretation of the Quran and has been Saudi Arabia's dominant faith for more than two centuries. Wahhabists believe that those who don't practice their form of Islam are heathens and enemies. We'll see below that from Wahhabism to ISIS, Saudi Arabia has been a key player and a primary exporter of global terrorism.
"He that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand"
Scales (balances) is translated as a yoke (G2218 Zygos), used of any burden or bondage; as that of slavery. This word also applies as troublesome laws imposed on one, such as the Mosaic law. The name is so transferred to the commands of Christ as to contrast them with the commands of the Pharisees which were a veritable 'yoke' upon the Jews, just as Sharia Law is considered a "yoke" or bondage upon it's followers. Regarding slavery, ISIS justifies the enslavement of innocent Yazidis (Iraqi ethnic and religious minority of Kurds) as sex slaves, stating that "enslaving the families of the kuffar (infidels) and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharia or Islamic law", though most Muslims feel that this view represents a perversion of Islamic law. Slavery however, is permitted as a result of being defeated in a war that was legal according to Sharia, and also if one were born as the child of two slave parents.
"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 the wine."
Here we have the depiction of famine. Famine may be attributed to many factors, one being political failure, another being economic ruin, and another as armed conflict, such as is currently being experienced in the Middle East and in Africa. ISIS has previously been engaged in squeezing food supplies, controlling wheat farms, seeking to control water by shutting down the Iraq dam, and destroying crates of food aid in an effort to force refugees into starvation.
We can now see famine breaking out all over Africa, South Sudan, Somalia, Northeast Nigeria, and Kenya. Much of this northeast area experiencing famine is where the Boko Haram insurgency has forced over 2 million inhabitants from their villages, homes, crops and schools. The people were forced to leave everything they knew and had behind, even including fresh water. Boko Haram, claims an affiliation with ISIS, and their ideology is Wahhabism, Salafism and Islamic fundamentalism.
Al-shabaab in Somalia (affiliated with al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS), maintains an ideology of Salafi jihadism and Wahhabism. They are based in Africa, a participant in the Somali civil war, and have also participated in the al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen, and the Yemen Civil war with the Houti. The war in Yemen (now a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the Saudi backed president and the Iranian backed Houthis), has produced relentless bombings by Saudi Arabia and a trade blockade that has mutilated the economy and placed over 7 million at risk of starvation. There have been more than 60% of civilian deaths and more than 70% of the population in need of aid.
Famine is occurring in these war torn areas associated with ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and Saudi Arabia. Sudan and Somalia are also being affected. In March of this year, the UN announced the worst food crises since WW2.
Then there are the economic factors...
"And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius;"
In 2015, ISIS Declared war on the US dollar with the gold dinar. The dinar is derived from "denarius", interestingly, there is also has an image of wheat on the back of this coin. ISIS began sapping up oil fields in Iraq and Syria in an attempt to undermine the US dollar.
They also engaged in unauthorized selling of oil to Turkey.
As reported from Zero Hedge back in Sept. 2015 - "competing gas pipelines are fueling the Syrian war & migrant crises". There were plans to destabilize Syria and overthrow the Syrian government as early as 2006. Plans given to the US directly from the Israeli government that would be formalized through instigating civil strife and sectarianism through partnership nations like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Egypt in order to break down the power structure in Syria and weaken Iran and Hezbollah. Israel has plans to use this crises to expand it's occupation of the Golan Heights for additional oil exploration and military expansion. The US partnership with these nations was used to divide Syria through Sunni and Shiite lines.
There are two pipelines that are being used to help fuel the crisis - one from Iran to Iraq to Syria, or a more north bound route from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Syria and Turkey. Concerns that the European gas market would be held hostage to the Russian gas giant Gazprom, are being cited as the reason the area needs new pipelines. The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas line is essential to diversifying European energy supplies away from Russia. Turkey is Gazprom's 2nd largest customer. Turkey relies on gas from Iran and Russia. Turkey harbors Ottoman like ambitions of becoming a strategic crossroads for the export of Russian, Caspian-Central Asian, Iraqi, and Iranian oil and gas to Europe. Assad refused to sign the proposal agreement with Qatar and Turkey that would run a pipeline from the North field contiguous with Iran's South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, crucially bypassing Russia. Assad wanted to protect the interest of his Russian ally, which is Europe's top supplier of natural gas. As a result of Assad refusing to sign onto the gas pipeline, the funds and arms began flowing into Assad's Syria to feed the so-called "moderate rebels" who were pushing Syria into a humanitarian crisis and famine.
In January, as reported by (AWD News) - a spokesman for the Russian president lambasted the Saudi regime for sowing terrorism and backing al-Qaeda inspired guerrillas throughout crises that hit Syria. " the Saudi leadership clings to power and hope they can possibly impede the inevitable collapse of their primitive, barbaric and inhumane political system by targeting the stability and welfare of other neighboring nations". "…Russia will defeat Saudis in Syria which became the epicenter of their [Saudis] malevolent plots. It is imperative for all Syrian parties that believe in a peaceful resolution for their country's five-year civil war to sit down at the negotiation table and denounce the Saudi destructive role". said president Putin. Putin also added that "Russia will bomb Saudi Arabia back to the Stone Age life when nomad Arabs were in the habit of living in tents unless the regime gives up assisting radical terrorists in the Middle-East". The Russian President added that strong actions against Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are justified and crucial due to the fact that Saudi-backed ISIS poses a major international security threat. At the same time, the international community should be under no illusion about the detrimental and suspicious U.S.-Saudi alliance.
Who is the Black Horseman?
It's all of the above, and first and foremost, it's Saudi Arabia as the common denominator with It's religion of Sunni Islam and Wahhabism and its exportation of terror. They are the world's largest producer and exporter of oil, controlling the world's second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves. Their involvement in these conflicts can not be understated.
"...and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine"
Can the motivation in these war situations resulting in famine be considered a "spoil" as mentioned in Ezekiel 38 and questioned by this very same country (Sheba and Dedan as modern Saudi Arabia) and is this spoil the gas pipelines and oil reserves currently at stake in Syria? Is the "wine" a metaphor for God's wrath?
Or is the oil and wine a metaphor for Israel? The olive tree, it's national emblem, oil from it is used in anointing kings, prophets, priests, and temple artifacts. Wine representing the Holy Spirit, and Christ as the vine with Israel itself as a type of vineyard. This being the case, "hurt not the oil and the wine" may very well indicate a warning to those that tread upon Israel.
Whether it's those representing the Black Horseman, the White Horseman, the Pale Horseman, or even the Red Horseman, we can see that Israel is becoming a "burdensome stone" and a "cup of trembling". The Islamic world is ravaged by war, by deprivation, desert, drought, pestilences, famine and starvation, and this is only the beginning of sorrows.
Our actions today are reflecting a certain "double mindedness producing instability in all our ways", as we seek to build coalitions and alliances with those who outsource a brand of terrorism in order to combat another form of terrorism of which we had previously trained, funded and supported ourselves. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend", this is done in pursuit of peace which will only yield more conflicts, wars and famines. If this peace in some form can be acquired, we realize it can only be short lived -
1 Thessalonians 5:3 (KJV)
"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape".
True and lasting peace can only be obtained through the Prince of Peace.
Romans 13:12 (KJV)
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."
Seek the Lord while he may be found. We must now simply humble ourselves, repent, surrender our hearts, minds, and our lives to the only one who can save us.
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!