Fri. May 24th, 2024

The Four Horsemen from the Book of Revelations Apocalypse 

The HOLY BIBLE – Book of Revelations

The Four Horsemen in Revelation 6

Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. 

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be 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 wine!”

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. ~ Revelation 6:1-8 (Emphasis added)

What Are the Four Horsemen in the Apocalypse During the End Times?

These four horsemen appear to symbolically portray four disastrous occurrences that will take place before the second coming of Jesus Christ. Historians have argued over whether these events have already happened or whether mankind has yet to experience them.

The Book of Revelation is the last book of the New Testament of the Bible. It is a prophetic book that describes the end times, or the final events of history. The book is full of symbolism and imagery, and it has been interpreted in many different ways by different people. One of the most famous passages in Revelation is the description of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. These four horsemen are often interpreted as representing conquest, war, famine, and death.

This part of the Tribulation with four figures riding horses is one of the more eerie parts of End Times prophecy. Much intrigue has been built around these four characters featured in the book of Revelation that iconic art, books, and even movies have capitalized on these four horsemen of the apocalypse.

The four horsemen of the apocalypse appear to symbolically portray four disastrous occurrences that will take place before the second coming of Jesus Christ. Historians have argued over whether these events have already happened or whether mankind has yet to experience them. But most evidence points to the fact these have yet to take place.

This article will endeavor to explain the characteristics of each one of the horsemen and how they all play an important role in the End Times.\

The first horse, a white one, seems bent on conquest (Revelation 6:2). Its rider wears a crown and holds a bow. Some people have attributed the rider of this horse as the person of Jesus, as later in Revelation 19 Jesus rides a white horse.

However, others have said this is the antichrist. The antichrist does try to mimic works the Messiah can do such as miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9), and he seems bent on conquering the world. This article aligns with the latter view.

The bow the white horseman carries can represent violence. After three and a half years of peace (Daniel 9:27), he will wage war upon the saints.

The Red Horse and Horseman – War

The next horse, a fiery red one, takes peace from the Earth (Revelation 6:4). The red horseman carries a large sword and blatantly represents war and violence. This makes sense to follow after the conquest-driven horse and rider. Conquest often leads to war.

Although many wars have ravaged the Earth’s history, none will quite wreak as much destruction as those that occur in the End Times.

The Black Horse and Horseman – Famine

This rider carries a pair of scales in his hand and seems to refer to a famine that will wipe out wheat and barley supplies, and spare oil and wine reserves (Revelation 6:5-6). We see the antichrist possibly having his hand being responsible for the famine as he controls the buying and selling of goods –  in Revelation 13:17 “so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

The Pale Horse and Horseman – Death

In John’s last vision, the pale horse represents death. Naturally, when food supplies dwindle and wars break out, death follows. The pale horse has the power of famine, plague, and to kill by the sword and by the wild beasts (Revelation 6:8).

Sickness and famine often break out as a result of warfare, and this horse stands as no exception.

Have the Four Horseman Already Come?

Historians have noted that the fourteenth century saw a number of events that could be seen as echoing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The Crusades, which were a series of wars between Christians and Muslims, could be seen as representing conquest. The Hundred Years War, which was a long and bloody conflict between England and France, could be seen as representing war. The Bubonic plague, which killed millions of people, could be seen as representing famine. And the Great Famine of 1315-1317, which also caused widespread death and suffering, could be seen as representing death.

It is also worth noting that the events of the fourteenth century were not the only time that people have seen parallels between the events of Revelation and the events of the world. Throughout history, there have been many people who have believed that they were living in the end times. And there have been many events that have been interpreted as signs of the apocalypse.

Nevertheless, history does have a way of repeating itself. Even if the events that transpired in the past reflected those in Revelation, we have yet to experience these again. It is impossible to say for sure whether or not the events of the fourteenth century were actually apocalyptic in nature. However, they are certainly a reminder that history does have a way of repeating itself. And they are a reminder that we should always be prepared for the unexpected.

Importance for Christians Today

All the horsemen appear to have power over a fourth of the earth, and surprisingly, are not the most devasting of judgments to come upon Earth in the End Times. Trumpets, thunders, seals, and other catastrophic events will follow.

Christians, during the End Times, will experience these horsemen. They will know death, disease, famine, and many trials. The antichrist, after all, will cut off food supplies from those who do not have the Mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:16-17), and he will kill and persecute many followers of Christ.

During that time, Christians can rest in the hope that Jesus will restore all things and make them right. That the Faithful and True will ride upon His white horse, and conquer death, famine, disease, and every pestilent thing. source

 


What Color Are The Four Horses In The Book Of Revelation

Discover the significance of the four horses in the Book of Revelation and their symbolic colors. Uncover fascinating Bible facts about the horses’ meanings and implications.

The Book of Revelation, the final book of the Christian Bible, is a captivating and enigmatic text that has intrigued and inspired countless individuals throughout history. One of the most iconic and mysterious passages within this apocalyptic book is the vision of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. These four horsemen are vividly described as riding different colored horses, each representing a distinct aspect of divine judgment and the tumultuous events preceding the end of the world.

In this article, we will delve into the intriguing question: What color are the four horses in the Book of Revelation? By exploring the symbolism and significance of the white, red, black, and pale horses, we will unravel the profound meanings behind these vivid images and gain a deeper understanding of their relevance within the context of biblical prophecy.

Join us on this illuminating journey as we uncover the symbolic significance of the colors of the Four Horsemen and unravel the profound messages embedded within this timeless biblical imagery.

The White Horse

The first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is depicted riding a white horse, a striking image that has captivated the imagination of readers and scholars for centuries. In the Book of Revelation, the rider of the white horse is described as holding a bow and given a crown, and he sets out to conquer. The symbolism of the white horse and its rider has sparked intense debate and speculation, with interpretations ranging from representations of conquest and victory to the spread of righteousness and divine judgment.

The color white holds profound significance in biblical symbolism, often representing purity, victory, and triumph. In the context of the white horse and its rider, the imagery evokes a sense of authority and conquest, signifying the powerful forces at play during the apocalyptic events foretold in the Book of Revelation. The rider’s possession of a bow further emphasizes the theme of conquest and the wielding of authority, suggesting a potent and decisive force unleashed upon the world.

Interpretations of the white horse and its rider vary widely, reflecting the diverse perspectives and theological traditions within biblical scholarship. Some interpretations view the rider as a symbol of divine righteousness and the victorious advance of God’s kingdom, while others perceive a more ominous connotation, associating the rider with deceptive powers and false ideologies that seek to deceive and subjugate humanity.

The imagery of the white horse and its rider serves as a powerful reminder of the complex and multifaceted nature of biblical symbolism, inviting readers to contemplate the profound spiritual truths embedded within these vivid and enigmatic visions. As we continue our exploration of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the symbolism of the white horse sets the stage for a compelling journey into the depths of biblical prophecy and the enduring relevance of its messages for contemporary readers.

The white horse and its rider stand as a potent symbol of conquest, authority, and the unfolding of divine judgment, inviting us to ponder the profound implications of these apocalyptic visions and their enduring significance within the broader tapestry of biblical prophecy.

The Red Horse

The second of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is vividly portrayed riding a striking red horse, a symbol that evokes intense emotions and profound contemplation. In the Book of Revelation, the rider of the red horse is granted the power to take peace from the earth and to make people slay each other. The symbolism of the red horse and its rider carries deep significance, representing themes of conflict, bloodshed, and the upheaval of societal order.

The color red holds potent symbolism in biblical imagery, often signifying blood, warfare, and upheaval. In the context of the red horse and its rider, the imagery evokes a sense of turmoil and discord, foreshadowing the tumultuous events that will unfold during the apocalyptic period. The rider’s authority to take peace from the earth and to incite conflict underscores the profound impact of his actions, signaling a time of unprecedented upheaval and strife.

Interpretations of the red horse and its rider offer compelling insights into the multifaceted nature of biblical prophecy. The imagery has been interpreted as representing the outbreak of war, social unrest, and the breakdown of established order, reflecting the profound consequences of human actions and the divine judgment that follows. The rider’s power to make people slay each other serves as a stark reminder of the destructive potential inherent in human conflict and the far-reaching implications of such turmoil.

The symbolism of the red horse and its rider invites contemplation of the enduring themes of warfare, societal upheaval, and the consequences of human actions. As we delve into the profound imagery of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the red horse stands as a potent symbol of the upheaval and discord that will characterize the apocalyptic events, prompting readers to reflect on the timeless truths embedded within these vivid and enigmatic visions.

The red horse and its rider serve as a powerful reminder of the profound impact of human actions and the far-reaching consequences of conflict and discord. The imagery invites readers to engage with the enduring themes of divine judgment, societal upheaval, and the transformative power of biblical prophecy, offering a compelling lens through which to explore the complexities of human history and the enduring relevance of these timeless biblical visions.

The Black Horse

The imagery of the black horse and its rider in the Book of Revelation presents a compelling and enigmatic symbol that has captured the imagination of readers and scholars for centuries. Described as holding a pair of scales in his hand, the rider of the black horse is tasked with delivering a message about scarcity, economic imbalance, and the consequences of societal injustice. The symbolism of the black horse carries profound significance, evoking themes of famine, economic hardship, and the ethical implications of human conduct.

The color black holds potent symbolism in biblical imagery, often representing darkness, mourning, and the consequences of moral transgression. In the context of the black horse and its rider, the imagery conveys a sense of scarcity and economic disparity, signaling a period of hardship and ethical reckoning. The rider’s possession of scales underscores the theme of economic imbalance and the ethical dimensions of societal conduct, highlighting the profound implications of human actions within the divine framework of judgment and justice.

Interpretations of the black horse and its rider offer compelling insights into the ethical dimensions of biblical prophecy. The imagery has been interpreted as a powerful allegory for economic injustice, scarcity, and the consequences of societal exploitation, reflecting the enduring relevance of these themes in the contemporary world. The rider’s message about the cost of essential goods and the ethical implications of economic disparity serves as a poignant reminder of the far-reaching consequences of societal conduct and the imperative of ethical stewardship.

The symbolism of the black horse and its rider invites contemplation of the enduring themes of economic justice, ethical conduct, and the consequences of societal choices. As we delve into the profound imagery of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the black horse stands as a potent symbol of scarcity, economic imbalance, and the ethical dimensions of divine judgment, prompting readers to reflect on the timeless truths embedded within these vivid and enigmatic visions.

The black horse and its rider serve as a powerful reminder of the ethical dimensions of human conduct and the far-reaching consequences of societal injustice. The imagery invites readers to engage with the enduring themes of divine judgment, ethical stewardship, and the transformative power of biblical prophecy, offering a compelling lens through which to explore the complexities of human history and the enduring relevance of these timeless biblical visions.

The Pale Horse

The imagery of the pale horse and its rider in the Book of Revelation presents a haunting and enigmatic symbol that has captivated the imagination of readers and scholars for centuries. Described as Death, the rider of the pale horse is accompanied by Hades and given authority over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. The symbolism of the pale horse carries profound significance, evoking themes of mortality, pestilence, and the profound impact of death on humanity.

The color pale holds potent symbolism in biblical imagery, often representing sickness, decay, and the transitory nature of human existence. In the context of the pale horse and its rider, the imagery conveys a sense of mortality and the devastating consequences of pestilence and death. The rider’s authority over a fourth of the earth to bring about death through various means underscores the profound impact of mortality and the far-reaching implications of human frailty within the divine framework of judgment and mortality.

Interpretations of the pale horse and its rider offer compelling insights into the profound realities of human mortality and the enduring significance of these themes in the contemporary world. The imagery has been interpreted as a powerful allegory for the universal nature of death, the devastating impact of pestilence and disease, and the inescapable reality of mortality that transcends human boundaries. The rider’s authority to bring about death through sword, famine, plague, and wild beasts serves as a poignant reminder of the far-reaching consequences of mortality and the imperative of acknowledging the transitory nature of human existence.

The symbolism of the pale horse and its rider invites contemplation of the enduring themes of mortality, pestilence, and the profound impact of death on humanity. As we delve into the profound imagery of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the pale horse stands as a potent symbol of mortality, pestilence, and the inescapable realities of human frailty, prompting readers to reflect on the timeless truths embedded within these vivid and enigmatic visions.

The pale horse and its rider serve as a powerful reminder of the profound impact of mortality and the far-reaching consequences of pestilence and death. The imagery invites readers to engage with the enduring themes of human frailty, mortality, and the transformative power of biblical prophecy, offering a compelling lens through which to explore the complexities of human history and the enduring relevance of these timeless biblical visions.

Conclusion

The vivid imagery of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, each riding a distinctively colored horse, serves as a powerful and enigmatic symbol within the Book of Revelation. From the conquering presence of the white horse to the tumultuous upheaval brought forth by the red horse, the imagery of these apocalyptic riders conveys profound themes of conquest, conflict, scarcity, and mortality. As we unravel the symbolic significance of the colors of the four horses, we are drawn into a rich tapestry of biblical prophecy that transcends time and resonates with enduring relevance.

The white horse, with its rider symbolizing conquest and authority, invites contemplation of the powerful forces at play during times of divine judgment. The red horse, evoking themes of conflict and upheaval, prompts reflection on the far-reaching consequences of human actions and the enduring impact of societal discord. The black horse, with its message of scarcity and economic imbalance, serves as a poignant reminder of the ethical dimensions of human conduct and the imperative of just stewardship. Finally, the pale horse, embodying mortality and pestilence, invites us to acknowledge the transitory nature of human existence and the profound impact of mortality on humanity.

As we contemplate the symbolic significance of these vivid images, we are reminded of the enduring relevance of biblical prophecy in illuminating timeless truths about the human experience. The imagery of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse transcends its historical context, offering profound insights into the complexities of human history, the ethical dimensions of societal conduct, and the inescapable realities of mortality. It serves as a compelling lens through which to explore the enduring themes of divine judgment, human frailty, and the transformative power of biblical prophecy.

In conclusion, the colors of the four horses in the Book of Revelation convey a rich tapestry of symbolism and meaning, inviting readers to engage with profound truths that resonate across time and culture. The enduring relevance of these vivid images serves as a testament to the timeless power of biblical prophecy in illuminating the complexities of the human experience and offering timeless wisdom for contemporary reflection. As we journey through the enigmatic visions of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, we are invited to contemplate the enduring themes of conquest, conflict, scarcity, and mortality, and to glean timeless insights that continue to resonate with profound significance in the present day. source


What the Bible says about Four Horsemen
(From Forerunner Commentary)

 

The Four Horsemen possess one obvious common factor: Each one rides a horse. Horses appear frequently in Scripture, more than 150 times across both Testaments. Most often, they appear in the context of battle, although a small number of passages emphasize their aggressiveness (Jeremiah 5:88:6Ezekiel 23:20) or stubbornness (see Psalm 32:9Proverbs 26:3). However, the imagery of horses is overwhelmingly inclined to represent martial strength (Deuteronomy 17:16II Chronicles 9:25Psalm 20:7Proverbs 21:31Isaiah 30:16).

Probably the most complete biblical exposition on horses appears in Job 39:19-25God says to Job:

Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder [or, a mane]? Can you frighten him [or, make him spring] like a locust? His majestic snorting strikes terror. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he gallops into the clash of arms. He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; nor does he turn back from the sword. The quiver rattles against him, the glittering spear and javelin. He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; nor does he stand firm because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, “Aha!” He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of captains and shouting.

The picture is of an animal eager and well-suited for war and carnage. Elsewhere, the Bible shows horses to be speedy (Jeremiah 12:5Joel 2:4) and fierce when they charge in battle (Habakkuk 1:8), causing panic and fright (Jeremiah 8:16). They are also strong (Psalm 147:10), many times the strength of a man, and formidable, especially in the gear of war.

This is the exact impression the image of the Four Horsemen is designed to elicit. They represent an oncoming, relentless, unstoppable, and terrifying enemy bent on destruction and death. They are embodiments of some of humanity’s greatest fears. And, as Jesus says, they are just the beginning of woeful onslaught mankind must endure before the end of the age!

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part One): In the Saddle?

Related Topics: Four Horsemen | Horse as Metaphor 

Matthew 24:3-5

 

It is no coincidence that the first warning Jesus gives about “the sign of [His] coming and the end of the age” is, “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:3-4). In fact, warnings about deception are frequent throughout His Olivet Prophecy (verses 4-5, 11, 23-26, 48). The time of the end, it seems, will be one of falsehood and deceit.

In the book of Revelation, this same warning appears as the first seal, also known as the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

Now I [John] saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a white horse. And he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2)

Comparing Jesus’ comments in Matthew 24 with these verses in Revelation 6, it becomes apparent that this horseman is not Christ proclaiming the true gospel but a counterfeit spreading the news of a false Messiah. For instance, this horseman carries a bow, but in every case, Christ is pictured with a sword (see Revelation 1:1619:15). Jesus interprets this horseman for us in Matthew 24:5: “For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many.”

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Let No One Deceive You

Matthew 24:3

 

In Jesus‘ response, He concentrates almost entirely on the second question—the signs of His coming and of the end—and the question of when is answered mostly in their aggregate. The closest He comes to answering when appears in verse 14: The end will come when the gospel has been preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations. Only He knows when this goal will be reached.

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part One): In the Saddle?

Matthew 24:8

 

This short sentence separates Jesus‘ commentary on the Four Horsemen, which are the four seals of Revelation 6:1-8, and His comments on the fifth seal, the tribulation and martyrdom of the saints (Matthew 24:9-10). The implication is that the Four Horsemen will ride roughshod on the earth to commence the time of “sorrows,” and it may also indicate a length of time between the fulfillment of the fourth seal and the opening of the fifth. The first four seals, then, might be broken in quick succession and allowed to inflict mayhem for a long period before the fifth seal is opened.

And Jesus’ choice of words in verses 4-7 suggests that the Horsemen were let loose long ago!

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part One): In the Saddle?

Revelation 6:1-8

 

It is clear that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—the first four seals—parallel Jesus‘ prophecy in Matthew 24:4-8, which ends with the words, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Our Savior is letting us know that deception, violence, scarcity, and disease are only preludes to the catastrophic events of the last days. We could paraphrase His remark as, “These calamities are par for the course under man’s civilization—far worse is yet to come.”

The progression of disasters—of false ideas leading to war, war to famine, famine to pestilence, pestilence to wild beasts—is vital to understanding the spiritual teaching underlying the Four Horsemen. Through a kind of parable, Jesus is instructing us in the principle of cause and effect. If people believe the message of the father of murder (John 8:44) rather than the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), they will eventually turn to murder and war to resolve their differences. Like the law of gravity, war causes shortages of food, producing malnutrition and opening the door to disease.

God is showing us that these sorrows trace their roots back to disobedience and rejection of Him. Mankind has built his civilization on a foundation of sand (Matthew 7:24-27), and it is no wonder that disasters ensue upon mankind with terrifying regularity. Because God is just, it cannot be otherwise. He has said, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). In addition, He has given us two sets of blessings and cursings (Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28) to provide us frightening and vivid depictions of what happens when we disobey Him. The Four Horsemen are similar warnings or reminders that He is still on His throne, judging mankind for his sins.

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part Five): The Pale Horse

Revelation 6:2

 

The white horse and the crowned bowman on its back, embodying the first seal of Revelation 6:1-2, are all about religious communication. Like his fellows, this horseman has nothing benign about him—he goes out “conquering and to conquer.” He is the one who commences—some would say ultimately causes—”the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8) that results in the death of a quarter of earth’s population (Revelation 6:8)!

Biblically, white is an interesting color. In our day, it is immediately associated with cleanliness and purity, as all advertisers know: Marketing a cleanser that is itself white or comes in predominantly white packaging helps to convince the consumer that the product is effective. However, an ancient Israelite might not see white that way. In Leviticus, white appears as the color of leprosy more than a dozen times (see, for instance, Leviticus 13:3). In Genesis 40:16, white baskets presage the death of Pharaoh’s baker, and in Joel 1:7, it is the color of a land stripped bare by an enemy.

Conversely, at other times it represents the more positive associations we are accustomed to. In Ecclesiastes 9:8, Solomon writes, “Let your garments always be white,” which most commentators feel refers to the joy, purity, and beauty of a righteous, godly individual. The Shulamite describes her Beloved, a type of Christ, as “white” (Song of Songs 5:10), implying His spotless and holy character. Similarly, Daniel sees “the Ancient of Days” clothed in a garment “white as snow” and with hair “like pure wool” (Daniel 7:9), reminiscent of John’s description of the glorified Christ in Revelation 1:13-16.

In the book of Revelation itself, white is predominantly positive in meaning, as most of its appearances describe God, Christ, glorified saints, or associated objects like the Great White Throne. Overall, white suggests purity, righteousness, holiness, glory, victory, and perfection. This preponderance of positive, symbolic meanings for the color white—without considering the mainly negative aspects of the other symbols—has led many interpreters to misidentify this horseman as a positive, even divine, image.

For starters, the white horseman carries a bow, a weapon of war. Strangely, John makes no mention of arrows or a quiver, although we may infer the former, since a bow is nearly worthless without arrows. (Then again, the lack of arrows may suggest war fought, not with blood-letting weapons, but with words or ideas; see Psalm 11:264:2-4Jeremiah 9:8Ephesians 6:16.) A bow is a purely offensive weapon, even more so than a sword, and is highly effective from long range (for example, archers killed Uriah the Hittite and kings Ahab of Israel and Josiah of Judah). Thus, the foremost idea behind this biblical symbol is powerful, penetrating, deadly accuracy with an intimation of distance.

A sidelight of the bow’s imagery is the frequency of its use as a symbol of God’s judgment. Job complains, “His archers surround me. He pierces my heart and does not pity; He pours out my gall on the ground. He breaks me with wound upon wound” (Job 16:13-14; see also Lamentations 2:43:12-13Jeremiah 50:9, 14, 29; 51:3).

The white horseman’s bow, then, represents an effective instrument of God’s judgment on the world for rebellion against Him. Unlike the sword that Christ wields (Revelation 19:15), the bow’s long range hints at God being somewhat removed in His judgment, yet it is just as devastating in its effectiveness at meting out justice. In addition, whereas the sword symbolizes the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17Hebrews 4:12)—His truth—the bow suggests a counterfeit “truth” or a false gospel. As II Thessalonians 2:11-12 says, “God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The rider of the white horse is given a crown to wear, after which he goes “out conquering and to conquer.” These two symbols are related both in their proximity in the verse and in their meanings. First, the word order suggests that being endowed with a crown allows or authorizes the horseman to go to war. Who gives him this crown? Notice Romans 13:1: “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” An angel tells Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:17, “The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.” God is sovereign over all earthly authority, and it is from Him that this horseman receives his crown and purpose.

Second, crowns generally represent some state of honor or blessing for the wearer. We normally associate crowns with royalty, which in Classical Greek is represented by the word diadema, which has come down to us as “diadem.” The word in Revelation 6:2, however, is stéfanos, a circlet, wreath, or garland, oftentimes made of leaves and twigs but sometimes of precious metals. It was awarded as a prize of victory or triumph, as a symbol of honor or authority, as a badge of civic worth or military valor, or as a sign of nuptial joy or festal gladness. Due to the verse’s heavy martial emphasis, it is likely that the horseman’s crown signifies triumph, authority, or military valor.

Third, this horseman goes “out conquering and to conquer,” a fairly literal rendering of the Greek. To us, this phraseology sounds strange, but it is merely expressing two different tenses of the same verb (nikao, “conquer,” “subdue,” “overcome,” “prevail,” “get the victory”): the present participle and the aorist subjunctive. In other words, John is telling us that the horseman begins and continues to conquer, and he will certainly conquer or will ultimately conquer (see A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament on this verse). The implication is that his entire purpose is to conquer, to dominate, to subjugate the peoples of the earth.

Overall, the white horse and its rider are vivid representations of a powerful, aggressive, victorious force running unrestrained over mankind. Like a knight in armor or a soldier in full dress uniform, the first horseman appears to the eye as glorious and noble, but its intent is to kill, destroy, and subdue its enemies. Its white façade is deceptive, concealing a deadly, unholy purpose.

These interpretations of the symbols may seem highly speculative and arbitrary until we unlock their mystery with the key supplied by Jesus Christ Himself in the Olivet Prophecy. In a series of four verses, He decodes the meanings of the Four Horsemen. Of the white horseman, He says: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5; see Mark 13:5-6Luke 21:8). The white horse and its rider represent religious deception.

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part Two): The White Horse

Revelation 6:3-4

 

The second horseman is perhaps the most easily identifiable of the famed Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, since both of its symbols, the fiery red color and the great sword, are well known to represent war. However, underlying this facile identification of the symbols are a few interesting details that add depth to them.

The Greek word John uses for “red” is purros or pyrros, meaning “the color of fire” (compare our words “pyre,” “pyromania,” “pyrosis”). This is not the normal Greek word for red (eruthros), but a more specialized term that suggests fieriness or flickering reds, oranges, and yellows like a flame. It is the same word that John uses to describe the redness of the Dragon (Satan) in Revelation 12:3 (the third and only other occurrence is in a proper name, Sopatros Purrou, which is strangely not fully translated in Acts 20:4). This particular color intimates heat and ferocity like an out-of-control wildfire.

The Hebrew language does not have a similar, biblical term. However, the color red or scarlet in the Old Testament frequently symbolizes blood, whether the blood of sacrifice (Leviticus 14:4, 6, 49-52; see Hebrews 9:19) or the blood of violence (II Kings 3:22-23Isaiah 63:2-3Nahum 2:3; etc.). Scarlet has two other interesting meanings: that of wealth and luxury (II Samuel 1:24Proverbs 31:21Lamentations 4:5; etc.; see Matthew 27:28Revelation 17:418:12, 16) and of sin (Isaiah 1:18; see Revelation 17:3). One could make a case that all these meanings could apply to the second seal.

The horseman’s “great sword” is a translation of máchaira megálee. Again, this is not the ordinary sword of war (romfaia) but a short sword or long knife like a dagger. Frequently, máchaira is the knife used to prepare a sacrifice or to slaughter an animal for food. It is also the sword worn by magistrates and executioners. That the red horseman’s sword is “great” (megálee) means either that it is larger or longer than usual or that it is highly effective in doing its job. Surprisingly, romfaia appears in Revelation 6:8: “And power was given to [the four horsemen] to kill with sword, with hunger, with death. . . .” A “great sword,” then, is the equivalent of a thoroughly effective instrument of death.

The sword is often a symbol of God’s judgment. David writes in Psalm 7:12, “If [the wicked] does not turn back, He [God] will sharpen His sword.” In Isaiah 34:6, 8, in the context of the Day of the Lord, God combines the sword of judgment with the idea of sacrifice and slaughter:

The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made overflowing with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. . . . For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.

Even to His own people, if they do not obey Him, God promises, “I will bring a sword against you that will execute the vengeance of My covenant” (Leviticus 26:25). Like this horseman, “the sword of the LORD shall devour from one end of the land to the other end of the land; no flesh shall have peace” (Jeremiah 12:12). Clearly, the purpose of the great sword given to the rider of the red horse is to inflict violent death on masses of people in divine judgment.

As if there never was any intent to obscure the meaning of this figure, John’s description of the red horse says matter-of-factly, “And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another” (Revelation 6:4). This second seal plainly represents conflict, war, destruction, and bloody death.

Of course, this parallels the second point in Jesus’ Olivet Prophecy in Matthew 24:6-7: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” The wording implies an expected increase in conflicts due to the stresses of the time leading up to the end. In other words, amplified contention is a precursor of the end time.

It is interesting to note that the second seal is introduced by “the second living creature saying, ‘Come and see'” (Revelation 6:3). Revelation 4:7 gives us the order of the living creatures as lion, calf, man, and eagle, so the living creature that introduces the seal of war is probably the calf. Just as the first seal’s introduction by the lion presages the white horseman’s prime characteristic of ferocious pursuit of prey, so does the calf foretell the red horseman’s main trait.

The calf, young bull, or ox, as translations variously render it, is known for its staying power and strength (Numbers 23:22Psalm 144:14Proverbs 14:4Hosea 4:16). An ox can pull a plow or wagon or turn a mill all day for days on end without complaint. Some have been known to work and work until they die from exhaustion. Rarely will one make its frustration or weariness known. A calf or ox will just keep going—a relentless, untiring worker.

We are to consider the red horse and his rider along the same lines. In this vein, they compose a picture of inevitable, unceasing, untiring, insatiable warfare. Perhaps we are to think of them in terms of a wild ox, as God describes it in the book of Job (Job 39:9-12).

A wild ox cannot be trusted to do its domesticated cousin’s chores; he is just as likely to charge and gore anyone who tries to yoke him! Likewise, David cries out, “Deliver Me from the sword, . . . from the horns of the wild oxen!” (Psalm 22:20-21). Isaiah 34:7 uses the same imagery: “The wild oxen shall come down with them, and the young bulls with the mighty bulls; their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust saturated with fatness.” Though the ox can be a placid, indefatigable worker, a wild ox can be a gory terror!

The red horseman, with its fiery red horse, great sword, and relentless aggression, is a fearsome symbol of unremitting, intensifying, uncontrolled, horrific conflict. God intends this figure to instill terror in mankind in the hope that he will repent of his enmity and be saved from its destruction and death (II Peter 3:9-13).

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part Three): The Red Horse

Revelation 6:5-6

 

A primary means of repression throughout history has been economic in nature. If a person or a group can be kept at the subsistence level—that is, financially able to afford only the bare necessities of life—he or it can be controlled. For instance, a man who must work from sunup to sundown to make enough to feed himself and his family does not have time to further his education, start a business, travel to see how others live, or collude with neighbors to rebel against his rulers. Essentially, such a person is a slave, a serf, a pauper, and those in authority have little trouble holding his nose to the grindstone day after day after day. Either he plods on, or he and his dependents starve.

Westerners usually think of famine in terms of mass starvation in remote, Third World countries. In our mind’s eye, we see stick-thin, little children with distended bellies and bones clearly visible under their skin, flies buzzing around their gaunt, staring faces. We imagine interminable lines of such people, bowl or cup in hand, waiting to receive their daily ration of grain or milk. Others we envision lying in the dirt without the strength even to walk.

But there is another kind of famine, not as severe but ultimately just as calamitous. It is the famine of protracted undernourishment, one that weakens the body, making it sickly and short-lived, and crushes the spirit, causing hopelessness and apathy. Jeremiah writes in Lamentations 4:9, “Those slain by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger; for these pine away, stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.”

It is such a long-term hunger that appears in Revelation 6:5-6. No matter if it is the result of war, oppression, drought, or flooding, famine is a terrible scourge, and sadly, has claimed millions of lives over the centuries. This is the work of the third horseman, the rider of the black horse.

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part Four): The Black Horse

Revelation 6:5-6

 

The apostle John’s description of this third horse and horseman is once again spare, as he provides us only two pertinent details: the black color of the horse and the rider’s pair of scales. Both of these details, though, point to an overall interpretation of famine, which verse 8 verifies by saying this rider has power to kill “with hunger.” In the Sermon on the MountJesus also names this seal as “famine” (Matthew 24:7).

We moderns tend to consider black to be the opposite of white, so to us, black is the color of evil, personified in the almost totally black costume of Darth Vader in Star Wars. The ancients made no such symbolic contrast (but see Matthew 5:36), although they did see symbolic opposites in darkness and light. Biblically, black is not the color of sin but simply an object’s true color. Blackblackness, and blacker are found 23 times in the Bible, describing the sky, hair, cloth, marble, skin, night, ravens, cumin, and horses. In each occurrence, blackness appears to be a synonym for “darkness.”

This does not mean, however, that the color black holds no symbolic meaning. It certainly has overtones of foreboding. Specifically, the Israelites used black to signify the mournful and unhealthy mien of those enduring scarcity, want, and famine, particularly as a judgment from God. Notice:

» Jeremiah 14:2: Judah mourns, and her gates languish; they mourn [literally, are black] for the land, and the cry of Jerusalem has gone up.

» Lamentations 5:10: Our skin is hot [literally, black] as an oven, because of the fever of famine.

» Joel 2:6: Before them the people writhe in pain; all faces are drained of color [literally, gather blackness].

» Nahum 2:10: She is empty, desolate, and waste! The heart melts, and the knees shake; much pain is in every side, and all their faces are drained of color [literally, gather blackness].

To a Hebrew, the black horse of the third seal would picture the illness and dearth of a famine, specifically the dirt and squalor of those who had nothing.

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part Four): The Black Horse

Revelation 6:6

 

After describing the black horse and its rider, John hears “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'” (Revelation 6:6). Among the Four Horseman, this is an unusual departure; nothing else is said to or about them save in this verse. Being so set apart, the words are doubly significant.

Who speaks these words? John simply says “a voice.” Literally, the Greek is “like a voice,” which can be stated as “what seemed to be a voice.” The only clue we have is that it comes from “in the midst of the four living creatures.” Revelation 4:6 provides the answer: “And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures. . . .” (see Ezekiel 1:4-28). The language suggests that the creatures were situated around the throne, one creature in the middle of each of the four sides. The voice coming from the midst of these creatures must have come from the one sitting on the throne! God Himself utters these words!

What He says is a common marketplace call of a merchant shouting out the price of his wares. He is setting relative values for both wheat and barley, with wheat being three times as valuable as barley. However, His price is highly inflated! The “quart” here is choinix in Greek, which is roughly equivalent to our quart, the amount of grain that a normal man needs each day to survive. In ancient times, though, a denarius would buy eight to ten quarts of wheat, not one! Obviously, these are disaster prices.

The “denarius” was equal to an ordinary worker’s daily wage, as Jesus illustrates in His Parable of the Laborers (Matthew 20:1-16). These prices, then, give a person an unenviable choice. If he is single, he can buy the more expensive, more nutritious wheat, yet have nothing left over, or he can buy the cheaper, less nutritious barley and save the remainder for the next day or so. However, if he is married and has children, he can choose only the barley because he needs more than one quart of grain for his family’s subsistence. None of these choices really allows the person either to get ahead or to stay healthy, especially if he has dependents.

God also commands, “Do not harm the oil and the wine,” which is a puzzler to scholars. To whom is God speaking—to the horseman or to people in general? It seems to be directed at the horseman, as he is the direct cause of the scarcity. Thus, the staff of life will be in such short supply as to need to be rationed or sold at extortionate prices, but oil and wine will be relatively untouched. Why?

Many commentators consider oil and wine to be luxury items, but this is false. In ancient times, olive oil and wine were staples of the Mediterranean diet along with grain, as Deuteronomy 7:13 and 11:14 indicate (see also II Chronicles 31:532:28Nehemiah 5:11Hosea 2:8, 22; Joel 1:10Haggai 1:11). A person, though, cannot live on oil and wine as he can on grain, yet, as science is just now discovering, they do provide additional and necessary nutrition. These items are available during the third horseman’s rampage, but the average man will not have the means to purchase them, since all his money is being spent on flour for bread!

What is God picturing then? The key is to remember that this “famine” is ongoing just as the wars and rumors of wars of the second horseman and the deceptions of the first horseman are. There are occasional lulls of plenty, but the experience of history is that most of the time, the ordinary individual is just getting by. Just as God predicted in Genesis 3:17-19, he labors and toils to eke out a miserable living only to die, worn out and broken in a few, short years. The third horseman’s job is to follow his red brother’s devastating wars with oppression, corruption, and scarcity so that men stay weak and poor and many die.

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part Four): The Black Horse

Revelation 6:8

 

Characteristically, the apostle John describes the fourth horse and rider using a paucity of verbiage: The horse is “pale,” the rider’s name is “Death,” and “Hades” follows him. This is the extent of the biblical description, yet even so, these provide us with sufficient clues to deduce a cogent interpretation.

First, the horse’s coat is a unique and otherworldly pale. The Greek word is chlooros, which we recognize as the origin of such English words as “chlorine,” “chloroform,” and “chlorophyll.” It technically refers to a greenish-yellow color found in nature in the pale green of just-sprouted grass or new leaves (see Mark 6:39Revelation 8:79:4; these are chlooros’ only other occurrences in the New Testament).

Secular Greek writers, however, did not confine chlooros just to sprouting plants. In The Iliad, Homer describes fearful men’s faces with this term, suggesting a pallid, ashen color, and in other instances, it is the pale golden color of honey or the gray bark of an olive tree. Sophocles writes that it is the color of sand, while Thucydides applies it to the skin color of those suffering from plague.

It is this last description that is probably John’s intended meaning; the color of the horse reminded him of the pale, greenish-gray color of a corpse or decaying flesh. The Phillips translation renders chlooros as “sickly green in color”; the New English and the Revised English Bibles, as “sickly pale”; the New Jerusalem Bible, as “deathly pale”; and the New Living Translation, as “pale green like a corpse.” The fourth horse sports a coat only producers of horror movies would love!

Upon the back of this gruesome beast sits one whose name is “Death.” This is another unique feature of this horseman, as none of the others receives a name. The Greek word is the normal word for “death,” thánatos, suggesting on the surface a generic application of the term. However, this would be jumping to a conclusion, for the term is probably meant to be understood more specifically as “pestilence” or “disease.”

The evidence for this meaning here derives primarily from the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. In several places, the Septuagint translators rendered the Hebrew word deber, meaning “pestilence” or “disease,” as thánatos. For instance, in Exodus 5:3Moses and Aaron tell Pharaoh, “Please let us go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence [Hebrew deber; Greek thánatos] or with the sword.” This combination of translations also occurs in the fifth plague, that of the murrain or cattle disease: God tells Moses to inform Pharaoh, “There will be a very severe pestilence” (Exodus 9:3; see also verse 15). In a later instance, God warns Judah through Jeremiah, “I will send . . . pestilence among them, till they are consumed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers” (Jeremiah 24:10).

The most convincing piece of evidence for thánatos meaning “pestilence” in this passage comes from the mouth of our Savior in the Olivet Prophecy, as He describes the events leading up to His return. He prophesies to His disciples, “And there will be famines [third seal or horseman], pestilences [fourth seal or horseman], and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). He does not use thánatos but loimós, which literally means “pestilence” or “disease.” Once Jesus Himself weighs in, there is no argument. The pale rider brings death by disease.

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part Five): The Pale Horse

Revelation 6:8

 

A minor controversy exists concerning the last half of verse 8: “And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.” The argument deals with whether this sentence applies to the fourth horseman alone or summarizes the depredations of all four. The latter seems preferable.

Jesus appears to treat the first four seals as a subgroup in His Olivet prophecy, saying of them, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). His intent is clear: These four judgments are a distinct set of calamities that acts as a kind of warm-up for the exceedingly more terrible judgments of the time of the end. As He warns, “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (verse 6). It is entirely logical to believe that the same Revelator would likewise separate the Four Horsemen from the last three seals with a short summary of their work as well as the limits of their authority.

Another proof involves the fact that the sentence restates the missions of the red (“to kill with sword”), black (“with hunger”), and pale (“with death [thánatos, meaning disease]”) horsemen. Applying these means of destruction to the fourth horseman alone would make the other two redundant and significantly diminish their roles. In addition, lumping pestilence in with hunger, war, and beasts as activities of the fourth horseman would obscure the role of disease as a judgment of God.

Commentators argue that the plural pronoun “them” in Revelation 6:8 has “Death” and “Hades” as its antecedents. They are certainly the closest antecedents, but the Greek does not demand them to be the pronoun’s true antecedents. Besides, the real subject of the previous sentence is not really “Death” and “Hades” but the singular “name” of the fourth horseman. If God intended it to be a summary statement of the whole passage, we can easily recognize “them” to refer to the entire passage’s active characters—the Four Horsemen—the ones to whom the Lamb gave authority to execute His judgment.

A final, curious factor is the inclusion of “by the beasts of the earth” in the powers of the horsemen; it seems to come out of the blue. However, it follows naturally in the progression of catastrophes. In times of severe war, famine, and disease, depopulation occurs, which upsets the precarious balance between human civilization and wildlife. Suddenly, with hunting and developing of wilderness areas reduced or eliminated, the population of predatory creatures expands, increasing the chances of animal attacks on humans.

The Bible provides an example of this in Genesis 10:8-9. It is thought that Nimrod’s rise to power over the post-Flood world began with his skills in hunting and killing predators, which had the upper hand over the miniscule human population at the time. Another example appears in Exodus 23:29, in which God promises Israel, “I will not drive [the Canaanites] out from before you in one year, lest the land become too desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you” (see also Deuteronomy 7:22Ezekiel 34:25, 28). Incursions of lions actually killed some Samaritans after Assyria took the bulk of the Israelites into captivity (II Kings 17:25).

Wild beasts are included in the curses for disobedience of Leviticus 26: “I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate” (verse 22; see Deuteronomy 32:24Jeremiah 15:3Ezekiel 14:15). Through Ezekiel, God prophesies that disasters such as the Four Horsemen bring happen together with the scourge of wild beasts: “So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the LORD, have spoken” (Ezekiel 5:17; see 14:21; 33:27). Though death by wild beasts is included in the text of Revelation 6:8 without warning, it fits nonetheless.

 

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part Five): The Pale Horse

 

source

 

 

FAMINE THE UNFAILING ALLY OF WAR.

When the Lord Jesus Christ was on earth He presented Himself to Israel as their promised King and Messiah. But the sad story is, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” Pilate the heathen judge asked Israel’s rulers, “shall I crucify your King?” They answered, “we have no king but Caesar.” Jesus Christ was despised and rejected of men. He was indeed the Man of sorrows acquainted with grief. He was the Stone rejected by the builders.

When Israel rejected the Lord Jesus He called their attention to the prophecy, that the builders would reject the Stone, and that Stone would become the Head of the corner. Matthew 21:40 to 43. When Israel rejected Christ, God rejected Israel and sent Paul to the Gentiles.

In order that we may clearly understand what is generally called “The New Testament Scriptures,” we must see the two-told rejection of Christ by Israel; once in His incarnation and again in His resurrection. In rejecting Israel Christ pronounced some awful judgments upon them, in Matthew 21:11 to 46— Matthew 22:7— Matthew 23:29 to 39, and Luke 21:20 to 31.

Because of Israel’s rejection of Christ in incarnation, Divine punishment would fall on them. That punishment is also stated in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, in answer to the question of Christ’s apostles. “What shall be the sign of Thy coming and the end of the world (age)?” Matthew 24:3. That chapter deals with Israel’s great tribulation, prophesied by Jeremiah, Daniel and other prophets. That tribulation is described in Revelation.

Because of Israel’s rejection of Christ in resurrection, Divine judgment would fall on them, which would mean rich, spiritual blessings for the Gentiles. That punishment is told in the eleventh chapter of Romans, in answer to the question, “hath God cast away His people (Israel)?” The answer is:

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Romans 11:25 and 26.

Since the words of Romans Eleven Israel has been an outcast nation for nearly 1900 years, a God-forsaken people, but a remnant has been supernaturally preserved.

During Israel’s blindness and rejection the grace of God. that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, and all Gentiles who have been wise enough to be the recipients of God’s grace, and have taken advantage of the free gift, have learned something of the meaning of Romans 11:30 and 11:15. “For as ye (Gentiles) in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their (Israel’s) unbelief.” “For if the casting away of them (Israel) be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”

Here we learn that the Gentiles have obtained mercy because of Israel’s blindness and unbelief. Here we learn that the message of reconciliation was sent to Gentiles when and because Israel was set aside.

But, of course, individual Israelites may trust in the redemptive work of Christ, and be justified “without a cause by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24. In every way we are living in “the times of the Gentiles.” In the last three chapters of II Kings, and the last three chapters of Jeremiah, we are told how and why “the times of the Gentiles” (politically) began, In the eleventh chapter of Romans we are told bow and why “the times of the Gentiles” (spiritually) began. We must mark these two radical changes in our Bibles, if we would understand God’s program and purpose during this age, past ages, and in the ages to come.

THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES

In Luke 21:20 to 33, we are told how “the times of the Gentiles” will end. This is also told in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. It is very interesting and instructive to observe that the times of the Gentiles began with war and famine, Note II Kings 25:3 and 4 and Jeremiah 52:6 and 7: “On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. And the city was broken up and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldeans were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.” II Kings 25:3 and 4: “In the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city so that there was no bread for the people of the land. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.” Jeremiah 52:6 and 7.

And in Matthew 24:3 to 13 we learn that. the times of the Gentiles will end with war and famine: “Many shall comp in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not. yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. Matthew 24:5 to 7.Now let us note in Revelation 6:1 to 9, concerning the anti-Christ movement. war, famine, and pestilence:

AND I SAW WHEN THE LAMB OPENED ONE OF THE SEALS, AND I HEARD, AS IT WERE THE NOISE OF THUNDER, ONE OF THE FOUR BEASTS SAYING, COME AND SEE. AND I SAW, AND BEHOLD A WHITE HORSE; AND HE THAT SAT ON HIM HAD A BOW; AND A CROWN WAS GIVEN UNTO HIM; AND HE WENT FORTH CONQUERING, AND TO CONQUER. AND WHEN HE HAD OPENED THE SECOND SEAL, I HEARD THE SECOND BEAST SAY, COME AND SEE. AND THERE WENT OUT ANOTHER HORSE THAT WAS RED; AND POWER WAS GIVEN TO HIM THAT SAT THEREON TO TAKE PEACE FROM THE EARTH, AND THAT THEY SHOULD KILL ONE ANOTHER; AND THERE WAS GIVEN UNTO HIM A GREAT SWORD. 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. 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. AND WHEN HE HAD OPENED THE FOURTH SEAL, I HEARD THE VOICE OF THE FOURTH BEAST SAY, COME AND SEE. AND I LOOKED, AND BEHOLD A PALE HORSE; AND HIS NAME THAT SAT ON HIM WAS DEATH, AND HELL. FOLLOWED WITH HIM. AND POWER WAS GIVEN UNTO THEM OVER THE FOURTH PART OF THE EARTH, TO KILL WITH SWORD, AND WITH HUNGER, AND WITH DEATH, AND WITH THE BEASTS OF THE EARTH. AND WHEN HE HAD OPENED THE FIFTH SEAL, I SAW UNDER THE ALTAR THE SOULS OF THEM THAT WERE SLAIN FOR THE WORD OF GOD, AND FOR THE TESTIMONY WHICH THEY HELD.”

It is interesting to know that famine is mentioned more than ninety-eight times in the Bible. About twenty-five times sword and famine are mentioned in the same Scripture. Jeremiah 5:12—14:2, 15 and 16—21:7—24:10—27:8 and 13—29:17 and 18—32:24 and 38—34:17— 38:2—42:17 and 22—44:3 and 12—Ezekiel 6:11 and 12—7:15—12:16—14:19 and 21— 28:23—33:27—38:22—Habakkuk 3:5—Matthew 24:7—Luke 21:11.

We note that the “red horse” rider of Revelation has a great sword for war and that the “black horse” rider has a pair of balances in his hands to weigh food. Famine follows the war. Famine has always followed war. War has always followed a spiritual famine, a time of spiritual declension, or some anti-Christ religious movement.

SWORD AND FAMINE

We have often heard the statement “experience is a great teacher,” “we profit by experience.” And we also hear the expression “history repeats itself.” The sinful people of 1941 A.D. are very much like the sinful people of 600 B.C. “For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against Me, saith the Lord. They have belied the Lord and said, It is not He; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine.” Jeremiah 5:11 and 12. But note God’s answer: “Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in My name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.” Jeremiah 14:15 and 16.

“And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.” Jeremiah 24:10.

Note the awful judgment which God pronounced upon His own people because of their sins:

“And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them. Because they have not hearkened to My words, saith the Lord, which I sent unto them by My servants, the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:18 and 19.

Now God gives this warning to the Gentiles: “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.” Romans 11:21. Why should God spare the sinful and ungodly Gentile rulers and people if He spared not His own nation, Israel?

Behold today the Germany that gave us the Reformation with the message of justification by faith, and the beginning of a new era! Think of the corruption of Rome, which boasts of being the chief city of Christendom, with the holy see. What may we expect to follow the present outrages of the blood-thirsty tyrants of Europe?

We say that famine has always been the unfailing ally of war, and if famine is not to be the ally of war in the present world conflict, this war will certainly be the exception.

Note the order

  1.  spiritual declension.
  2.  war
  3.  Famine
  4.  pestilence.

Many Christian preachers were sure that the world war, famine, and pestilence of 1914 to 1919 would cause multitudes to turn to God and the Bible. We do thank God, that, as the result of what transpired, many Christians saw the folly of Postmillennialism, and became Premillenarians. But there never has been more worldliness and apostacy among church members than there has been during the past twenty years, and God has again permitted an awful war to be waged.

Now every day the reports are coming from Europe that the inhabitants of that country are facing the spectre of famine. They very much fear that there will be a real shortage of food in most of the invaded and conquered lands. Where there is not a short harvest there is a shortage of men; men who should be out in the fields of wheat, with agricultural implements, are on the bloody battle fields with their hellish implements of war.

Now the question which is in the minds and hearts of so many of God’s people today, is whether the present European conflict has anything to do with the fulfillment of Matthew Twenty-four or Revelation Six. Has the red horse and his rider of Revelation 6:3 and 4 arrived? Will the black horse and his rider appear on the scene before this war is over?

If history is to repeat itself, most assuredly famine and pestilence will follow this awful war. And in addition to these sorrows undoubtedly there will be insurrection, rebellion and revolution. Only God knows the horrors ahead. But the intelligent, spiritual, diligent student of the Bible knows that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse will not ride while the Body of Christ is in the making. God’s definite specific purpose during this present dispensation of grace, is to complete the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:10 to 14.

The Messianic Kingdom of Christ is to be established after this present dispensation has been brought to an end. The Kingdom is to be established when Jesus Christ comes as the Son of man and King, to deliver Israel from their great tribulation.

During this present parenthetical period, the dispensation of the mystery is to be made known. Ephesians 3:9. When the child of God knows this great truth concerning the Church of the Mystery, he will not expect the white horse rider of Revelation Six, or the white horse rider of Revelation Nineteen, until after the rapture of the Body.

THE GREAT TRIBULATION

In order that we may understand the five horsemen of Revelation, let us study the verses with some verses in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew and the twenty-first of Luke.

REVELATION

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer: And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and to a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 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. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held.Revelation 6:1 to 9.

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. Revelation 6:12 and 13.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat on him was called Faithful and True and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God” Revelation 19:11 to 13.“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, against His army. Revelation 19:19. The beast and the false prophet were cast into the lake of fire.

MATTHEW AND LUKE

“For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Matthew 24:5 to 10.

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21.

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30.

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And He spake to them a parable; behold, the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and care of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:24 to 34. source