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Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

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The book of Revelation contains a series of startling visions shown to the apostle John by Jesus Christ. Chapter six opens with John describing the first four of seven seals, commonly referred to as the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This frightening vision shows four riders who bring death and destruction to the earth:

Revelation 6:2-8  And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. 3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 4 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. 5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third 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. 6 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.” 7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. 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.

With such a terrifying picture of the future, how can we understand and escape these events? 

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Jesus Christ Reveals the Horses.

The very definition of the word “revelation” indicates this book of the Bible was meant to be understood and revealed.

In this context it is important to understand that Christ is the one who “makes known” the book of Revelation, and He is the one who opens the seals of chapter six. This is made plain in the very beginning of the book: 

Revelation 1:1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,”

Without Christ explaining these verses, no one could possibly understand what the four horsemen picture. 

The Bible Explains Itself in Parallel Accounts. 

In Matthew 24 Christ was asked by his disciples about the events that would unfold before His second coming:

Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Christ then began to describe a sequence of events that would increase in frequency and intensity from that time until His return. This list of events throughout Matthew 24, that leads up to the return of Christ, mirrors the events of Revelation 6 through Revelation 11:15. When we put these two pieces of the puzzle together, we can understand the symbolism of the four horsemen.

Although false Christianity, war, famine and pestilence have been present since the time of Jesus Christ, the four horsemen depict the ultimate and final fulfillment of these events that will come at the end time.

The White Horse Represents The Ultimate False Christianity.

Revelation 6:2  “And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
Matthew 24:4-5  4 “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.””

The very first thing Christ warned about was deception - specifically a counterfeit form of Christianity that would spring up almost immediately after He died. The Apostle Paul reiterated the danger of that false religion and urged people not to be swayed.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

As early as the first century, many followers of Christ were drawn away from the authentic faith as counterfeit teachings and pagan worship practices began to infect true Christianity. The intensity of religious deception has increased exponentially since that time and it will culminate with the rise of a final satanic system of false Christianity that deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 17:1-6).

The Red Horse Represents Widespread Wars Without Peace.

Revelation 6:4  “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."
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. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. [...]

John’s vision in Revelation was not referring to a random historical war or to the fall of Jerusalem which occurred about 20 years earlier. Notice this horseman has the power to take peace from all the earth. This describes world wars (kingdom against kingdom), where entire groups of countries are allied against one another. Once this vision is fully realized, the world will face the most brutal time in history.

Nearly all nations in the world today are either directly involved in an armed conflict or readily preparing themselves for one. Technology has pioneered incredible weapons of mass destruction that have the potential to destroy the earth many times over. 

As Christ explained, wars will continue to increase in frequency and intensity. Small wars (nation against nation) pave the way for large, full-scale wars (kingdom against kingdom), with today’s modern weapons eventually leveling most of the world.

The Black Horse Represents Worldwide Famine.

Revelation 6:5-6  5 “…So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 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.”
Matthew 24:7 “...And there will be famines…

Christ mentioned famines in the plural sense - meaning there would be many over the course of future decades, ultimately leading to worldwide famine just prior to His return to this earth. The black horse pictures the climax of these events, bringing misery and suffering in its wake. 

Ezekiel shows just how devastating the effects of the third and fourth horsemen will be on today’s modern Israelite nations; killing a third of their population: 

Ezekiel 5:16 When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread. 

Eventually the scourge of famine will spread to the entire earth leaving millions vulnerable for the fourth and final horseman - disease.

The Pale Horse Represents the Pinnacle of Pandemics!

Matthew 24:7 “...And there will be…pestilences…
Revelation 6:8  “So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. 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 pale horse represents widespread disease and death (pandemics). With over 8 billion people alive today, the death toll from these four horsemen will be catastrophic!

Ezekiel 5:17 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.’ ”

God explains the reason for this punishment is due to mankind's continued refusal to obey Him and follow His laws of righteousness. 

Deut. 28:15, 21-22 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…21 The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. 22 The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish.” 

Disease and pestilence, working in tandem with war and famine, will lay the groundwork for intense sorrow and devastation. Over a fourth of the earth will perish at this tragic time before Jesus Christ returns and intervenes to establish His Kingdom on the earth.

How Can We Escape? 

The four horsemen of Revelation symbolize cataclysmic events representing the final culmination of false religion, war, famine, and disease inflicted on mankind. Can we escape the punishment and suffering these horsemen bring? Yes! Jesus Christ told us not to fear and promised deliverance to those who follow and obey Him.

Revelation 7:2-3 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
Matthew 24:22: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” 

The elect are those who are called, chosen, and faithful. They have repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior, striving to live a life dedicated to righteousness. With that comes awesome promise!

Romans 2:5-11 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.

The devastation that comes from the four horsemen of the apocalypse is the result of humanity rejecting God. But when you choose God's way of life, He promises glory, honor, and peace with eternal life in His Kingdom!

swipe

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Printer + Reader Friendly
swipe

The book of Revelation contains a series of startling visions shown to the apostle John by Jesus Christ. Chapter six opens with John describing the first four of seven seals, commonly referred to as the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This frightening vision shows four riders who bring death and destruction to the earth:

Revelation 6:2-8  And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. 3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 4 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. 5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third 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. 6 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.” 7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. 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.

With such a terrifying picture of the future, how can we understand and escape these events? 

swipe

Jesus Christ Reveals the Horses.

The very definition of the word “revelation” indicates this book of the Bible was meant to be understood and revealed.

In this context it is important to understand that Christ is the one who “makes known” the book of Revelation, and He is the one who opens the seals of chapter six. This is made plain in the very beginning of the book: 

Revelation 1:1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,”

Without Christ explaining these verses, no one could possibly understand what the four horsemen picture. 

The Bible Explains Itself in Parallel Accounts. 

In Matthew 24 Christ was asked by his disciples about the events that would unfold before His second coming:

Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Christ then began to describe a sequence of events that would increase in frequency and intensity from that time until His return. This list of events throughout Matthew 24, that leads up to the return of Christ, mirrors the events of Revelation 6 through Revelation 11:15. When we put these two pieces of the puzzle together, we can understand the symbolism of the four horsemen.

Although false Christianity, war, famine and pestilence have been present since the time of Jesus Christ, the four horsemen depict the ultimate and final fulfillment of these events that will come at the end time.

The White Horse Represents The Ultimate False Christianity.

Revelation 6:2  “And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
Matthew 24:4-5  4 “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.””

The very first thing Christ warned about was deception - specifically a counterfeit form of Christianity that would spring up almost immediately after He died. The Apostle Paul reiterated the danger of that false religion and urged people not to be swayed.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

As early as the first century, many followers of Christ were drawn away from the authentic faith as counterfeit teachings and pagan worship practices began to infect true Christianity. The intensity of religious deception has increased exponentially since that time and it will culminate with the rise of a final satanic system of false Christianity that deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 17:1-6).

The Red Horse Represents Widespread Wars Without Peace.

Revelation 6:4  “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."
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. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. [...]

John’s vision in Revelation was not referring to a random historical war or to the fall of Jerusalem which occurred about 20 years earlier. Notice this horseman has the power to take peace from all the earth. This describes world wars (kingdom against kingdom), where entire groups of countries are allied against one another. Once this vision is fully realized, the world will face the most brutal time in history.

Nearly all nations in the world today are either directly involved in an armed conflict or readily preparing themselves for one. Technology has pioneered incredible weapons of mass destruction that have the potential to destroy the earth many times over. 

As Christ explained, wars will continue to increase in frequency and intensity. Small wars (nation against nation) pave the way for large, full-scale wars (kingdom against kingdom), with today’s modern weapons eventually leveling most of the world.

The Black Horse Represents Worldwide Famine.

Revelation 6:5-6  5 “…So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 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.”
Matthew 24:7 “...And there will be famines…

Christ mentioned famines in the plural sense - meaning there would be many over the course of future decades, ultimately leading to worldwide famine just prior to His return to this earth. The black horse pictures the climax of these events, bringing misery and suffering in its wake. 

Ezekiel shows just how devastating the effects of the third and fourth horsemen will be on today’s modern Israelite nations; killing a third of their population: 

Ezekiel 5:16 When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread. 

Eventually the scourge of famine will spread to the entire earth leaving millions vulnerable for the fourth and final horseman - disease.

The Pale Horse Represents the Pinnacle of Pandemics!

Matthew 24:7 “...And there will be…pestilences…
Revelation 6:8  “So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. 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 pale horse represents widespread disease and death (pandemics). With over 8 billion people alive today, the death toll from these four horsemen will be catastrophic!

Ezekiel 5:17 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.’ ”

God explains the reason for this punishment is due to mankind's continued refusal to obey Him and follow His laws of righteousness. 

Deut. 28:15, 21-22 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…21 The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. 22 The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish.” 

Disease and pestilence, working in tandem with war and famine, will lay the groundwork for intense sorrow and devastation. Over a fourth of the earth will perish at this tragic time before Jesus Christ returns and intervenes to establish His Kingdom on the earth.

How Can We Escape? 

The four horsemen of Revelation symbolize cataclysmic events representing the final culmination of false religion, war, famine, and disease inflicted on mankind. Can we escape the punishment and suffering these horsemen bring? Yes! Jesus Christ told us not to fear and promised deliverance to those who follow and obey Him.

Revelation 7:2-3 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
Matthew 24:22: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” 

The elect are those who are called, chosen, and faithful. They have repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior, striving to live a life dedicated to righteousness. With that comes awesome promise!

Romans 2:5-11 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.

The devastation that comes from the four horsemen of the apocalypse is the result of humanity rejecting God. But when you choose God's way of life, He promises glory, honor, and peace with eternal life in His Kingdom!

swipe