Bible · Culture · Culture & Society

Hurricane Irma and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

History will record that on September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma, a terrible tropical cyclone and the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, covered the state of Florinda with fury and force. Winds were recorded at 130 mph with gusts of 160 mph. For five days prior to the arrival of Irma, the whole nation was fascinated by and fixated on the advance of the hurricane as it moved through the Caribbean islands, over the Bahamas and Cuba leaving in its wake death and incredible destruction of property. Waves of water surged 6 to 15 feet high spilling over manmade barriers and breaking down any resistance in its path. Many treasures of a lifetime were swept away and disappeared into the turbulent waters. Homes were destroyed. Businesses were flooded. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were riding on the waves of the ocean.

The First Horseman was conquest. “I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.” (Rev. 6:2) There is popular notion which prevails in modern Western society that climate change is made by man. When asked for specific evidence for this belief, no valid scientific data can be pointed to. In 2007, more than 17,000 scientists have signed a petition circulated by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine saying, in part, “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere, and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” (www.oism.org) In the contest of control, nature will prevail. Man cannot cause, or control, the forces of nature. Any conquest will belong to nature, and to the God of nature, who reveals Himself in the sun, moon, stars, and the storms of the seas. As the God of nature, the Lord has promised that all storms since the days of Noah will be contained so there will be no more universal flood waters. Hurricane Irma will soon pass, and it can be said, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” (Psalm 107:29, Gen.9:13)

The Second Horseman was war. “Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.” (Rev. 6:4) Because of the Fall, nature is at war with man and groans in agony. Despite being forced to fight in a conflict not of its choosing. The creation waits with eager longing to be set free from its bondage to corruption, and obtain the freedom of its former glory. (ESV, Romans 8:19-21) Until the day of future restoration, nature will be red in tooth and claw. There will be violent storms.

The Third Horseman was famine. “…and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!’” It is not unusual to find stores empty of basic supplies during a terrible storm. Hurricane Irma has proven to be of no exception. Gas stations closed. Food disappeared from the shelves of major food stores.

The Fourth Horseman was death and hades. “I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him.” (Rev. 6:8) Hurricane Irma caused the death of more than 50 people. Previous lives were swallowed up, and went down into a watery grave.

People reacted to Hurricane Irma in various ways.

Some people made the decision to stay where they were and endure the storm. Others sought out a local shelter for safety and security. Prudent people hurried to flee Florida altogether. Airports were crowded. Planes were booked to capacity. The major highways were jammed with cars going north. Those who could not flee the state raided the stores for gasoline, food, and supplies. Flashlights, batteries, generators, extension cords sold out.

Some people took guns, and shot into the eye of the storm in order to make a statement of bravery and fearlessness. 70,000 individuals, perhaps out of stress and boredom, signed a pledge to mock Irma, and thought that shooting bullets into the wind was the way to do that. After all, what could possibly go wrong with that idea? (Natalie Allison, USA TODAY NETWORK)

Some very well-meaning, but unwise, people began to assert what they perceive as their spiritual Dominion of the storm. They commanded the storm to go this way or that, or to stop altogether.

Fortunately, wisdom prevailed among more mature Christians, who simply made their petitions known to the Lord, and then submitted to the will of the Sovereign. They simply prayed to the Father in heaven, and asked that, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) It was enough. And then, they lived to tell others about Hurricane Irma, and the day the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse rode through the state of Florida.

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