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 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)
The White Horse and Horseman - the Antichrist and Violence
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.
The antichrist will seek to wage physical war as well as a spiritual war. Take, for instance, the abomination of desolation he will place in the temple, after the three and a half years of peace (Daniel 9:27). He will take the lives of many in a physical and spiritual sense.
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."
Some scholars attribute this famine to the wars that occurred before it. Throughout history, those who tend to farm and contribute to food supplies yield such duties to fight in wars. Because of this, the food supplies suffer, and entire civilizations collapse.
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.
Of course, not everyone agrees that these events were actually apocalyptic in nature. Some people believe that they were simply natural disasters or the result of human conflict. However, there is no doubt that they were devastating events that had a profound impact on the world.
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.
Save this PDF to keep as a reminder - A Biblical Guide to Revelations and Faith in the End Times
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