The "Coming" Four Horses

Revelation 6:1-8

Rev. 6:1-2 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" 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.

Man tells us that the world is getting better; God say they will become increasingly worse. Man says that peace among nations is close at hand; God says there will be wars and rumors of wars, kingdom against kingdoms... Man expects to win the battle against disease, famine, and hardship; God says there is to be fearful judgments of disease, famine, and hardship.

The white horse brings a man of conquest. Notice who is opening the seals of the scroll of the culmination of history: Jesus alone has the authority and right to do this. Each seal is associated with a living creature (zoa, one of the cherubim of Ezekiel 1 and 10) who calls out come (or, it could be translated "go forth") to each horseman. The rider on the white horse is not Jesus (we shouldn't be fooled just because he is on a white horse!), but a satanic dictator who imitates Jesus. "The whole context and character of these seals absolutely forbid our thinking of this rider being the Lord Jesus, as so many affirm. His reign shall not bring war, famine, and strife in its train." (Jennings).

The idea of a Satanic dictator over men goes back all the way to Nimrod, the ruler over Babel in Genesis 10:8-14; it is said he was a mighty hunter before the Lord, in the sense of being a mighty hunter of men in the face of God, in an offensive sense. This final Satanic dictator over men will be the most terrible; he will rule over men as a false Messiah, and lead man in organized rebellion against God (in the pattern of Nimrod, his first predecessor); he is the one often called the Antichrist.

The political and social scene of today is certainly set for the emergence of such a political leader; all that is waiting is for the Lord to allow it in His timing - and after He takes His church out of the picture. And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). Significantly, the first seal opened brings this dictator to prominence; we are told that the seventieth week of Daniel 9 begins when this dictator will confirm a covenant with [the] many (the Jewish people).


Rev. 6:4 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" 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.

The red horse brings war and conflict. All this rider must do is take peace from the earth; men do the rest of the destruction among themselves. Peace between men is a gift from God; it is not the natural state of relations between men. This authority is granted to the horseman; this is, directly or indirectly, the judgment of God. We live in the age of war and conflict; since World War II, there have been more than 150 wars of one kind or another, and right now there are some three dozen armed conflicts taking thousands of lives yearly. The nations of the world spend more than $1 trillion on military expenditures a year.



Rev. 6:5-6 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, 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!"

The black horse brings scarcity and inequity. The scales symbolize the need to carefully measure and ration food; it is a time of scarcity. The prices reflect food costs that are about twelve times higher than normal; it will cost a day's wage to buy the ingredients for a loaf of bread. This describes "A time of famine when life will be reduced to the barest necessities" (Walvoord).

Yet, (comparative) luxuries will be available for those who can afford them; there will still be the oil and the wine, that should not be harmed. We see great famine in the world today; yet fewer people suffer from famine today than 100 years ago. However, understanding the ecological balance, it would not take much to plunge much of the world into the kind of scarcity and inequity mentioned here.

"Oil and wine": equivalent, in our culture, to toiletries, beauty aids and liquor. Luxuries. This is more than famine alone. It describes global rationing and controls. The Coming World Leader will control the economy (Rev 13:17). Cf. Amos 8:11.


Rev.6:7-8 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

The pale horse brings death. There will be a tremendous death toll from the dictatorship, war, famine and other calamities. Our century has seen hundreds of millions killed by dictators, wars, and famines; yet this will pale in comparison to the death toll that comes in the wake of this ultimate dictator. No wonder Jesus could say For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21) Notice that power is given to the horseman; though all hell is breaking loose on the earth, God is very much in control.

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