There will, perhaps, be more people dying during that time (a period of 7 years) than at any other time (with the exception of the time when God judged the whole world with a universal flood in the days of Noah). There may be many “natural deaths,” but most deaths will occur for two other reasons: 1) Being killed by the Beast and the Antichrist; and 2) Being killed by God’s judgments.

  1. In Revelation 13:1-10 we read of a political ruler called the Beast. He will have great power and authority given to him by Satan and many in the world will worship him. Verses 3-4 speaks of this: “And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshipped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him’?” (NKJV) Yet there will be true believers on the earth who refuse to worship him and the Beast will make war with them and kill them, as we see in verse 7, “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and TO OVERCOME THEM.” The Beast will have a religious ally in Jerusalem who is also referred to as a “beast” in verses 11-18. He is the Antichrist, who will pretend to be Israel’s Messiah. He will honor the first beast by placing an image of him in the Temple and all who refuse to worship this image will be killed. We read of this in verse 15, “He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast TO BE KILLED.” All true believers in Christ will refuse to bow down to this image and they will be martyred for their faith. In Revelation 20:4 we learn how the Antichrist kills them: “Then I (the apostle John) saw the souls of them who had been BEHEADED for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, WHO HAD NOT WORSHIPED THE BEAST OR HIS IMAGE.”
  2. In Revelation chapters 6-16 we see a series of 21 judgments falling upon this ungodly world. A vast majority of the earth’s population (which is 7 billion today) will die from these catastrophic judgments from God. Let’s read about a few of these judgments in Revelation 6:3-8. Verses 3-4 say, “When He (Jesus Christ) 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.” The “great sword” speaks of WARFARE and the “fiery red horse” of BLOODSHED, for many will be killed in war at this time.

Verses 5-6 read, “When He opened the third seal, I heard the living creature say, ‘Come and see.’ So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 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; and do not harm the oil and the wine’.” There will be a great FAMINE (represented by the “black horse”) that will kill many poor people who can’t even afford to buy wheat or barley. Rich people will survive this judgment, and will still be able to buy “oil and wine.”

Verses 7-8 state, “When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come.’ 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” (NASB). Under this seal we have an “ashen horse” picturing Death on a scale never seen before, for “a fourth of the earth” will be killed. Going by today’s population, that judgment alone will claim the life of almost 2 billion people! Besides the “sword” and “famine,” many will die from “pestilence,” which is an “epidemic disease” like the Bubonic plague. Some will also be killed by wild beasts that will prey on victims of war and famine. (241.7) (DO)