I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:8).
Consider those words for a moment…we are all familiar with plagues such as THE Plague, as in bubonic, Swine Flu and Dengue Fever and Malaria and all the other diseases and plagues throughout the centuries as well as biblical plagues of locusts and the ten plagues of Egypt. But one of the plagues loosed in Revelation 6 as the 4th seal is opened will be wild beasts.
Before we explore further, let’s go back to the beginning, in Genesis1:28 and Genesis 9:2. In Gen 9, God said “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.” In this verse, after the flood, God is making a promise to Noah and his descendants. God grants them power over the inferior creatures for their use and benefit. Man would have dominion over them. In Gen 1:28 God gave dominion over the animals but it was in harmonic governance. By Gen 9, the change is that He will now instill a fear into the animals, and fallen man shall rule over them through their fear and dread of man. “Those creatures that are any way hurtful to us are restrained; so that tho’ now and then man may be hurt by some of them, yet they do not combine together to rise up in rebellion against man” writes Wesley.
Have you ever pondered the thought that we can ride a horse and make it do our bidding using only our heels and a bridle? Or that we can cause a bull to do our will, or an elephant to prance around on two legs? Or train a lion using a chair? Or ride Killer whales at Sea World? These are huge animals who could stomp us in a second, yet they don’t (as a rule). Why? They are restrained because of their fear and dread of us.
By the time Revelation 6:8 comes, the LORD will have taken away that fear and dread and the animals will rise up. Animals are already being abandoned in great number, and not just the small animals of dogs and cats, horrifying enough as that is, but also horses and zoo animals. We read more and more of sharks attacking in closer waters, mountain lions poaching humans in the backyard suburbs, wolf attacks are increasing, even raccoons attacking daily in DE and FL.
Imagine what it will be like when the LORD removes the restraint completely and allows animals to willfully rise up and attack. Remember how Wesley interpreted it: “Those creatures that are any way hurtful to us are restrained; so that tho’ now and then man may be hurt by some of them, yet they do not combine together to rise up in rebellion against man.” In Revelation 6 they will do exactly that!
God has cursed man with the plague of wild beasts before. In Lev. 26:22 “God said ‘I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle and reduce your number so that your roads lie deserted,” and in Ez 14:21 “For thus says the Lord GOD, “How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it!”
Matthew Henry commentary -“Hurtful beasts, noisome and noxious, either as poisonous or as ravenous. God can make these to pass through the land (v. 15), to increase in all parts of it, and to bereave it, not only of the tame cattle, preying upon their flocks and herds, but of their people, devouring men, women, and children, so that no man may pass through because of the beasts; none dare travel even in the high roads for fear of being pulled in pieces by lions, or other beasts of prey, as the children of Beth-el by two bears. Note, When men revolt from their allegiance to God, and rebel against him, it is just with God that the inferior creatures should rise up in arms against men.”
How horrifying that the wild beasts should hunt us, attack, and do so in great number! You, Dear reader, do not have to be among the number killed by claws and teeth. Jesus made a way. If you feel saddened and upset over your misdeeds, called ‘sins’ in the bible, then ask Jesus to forgive them. Sinners cannot attain heaven, God hates sin and always judges it. That’s what the Tribulation is about: judging Israel and punishing national and individual sin through His wrath. If you pray to Jesus to forgive your sins and do so with sincere heart, believing He and only he can forgive them because of His work on the cross, then you are saved! Saved from the plague of beasts sure to come upon the world and then a worse fate of an eternity without Jesus in heaven. It will happen soon, do not delay.