As ominous as they are, mysterious, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse stand at our horizon as a foreboding reminder that Man’s time here on planet Earth has a shelf-life. To the skeptic, these riders are nothing more than symbolic sound bites. To your average unstudied Christian, these four riders represent a mysterious symbolism that can’t be known. The Preterist and Amillennialist see them as either historic or figurative leaders who have long since come and gone. But to those who hold to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture view, we recognize these riders as those who will be unleashed after the church have been caught up to heaven during the 70th Week of Daniel.
Some believe these to be the same colored horses as those who appear in Zechariah’s vision. I believe Jack Kelley in GracethruFaith gives an excellent response to the one posed to him concerning this, so I won’t rehash it. I will say that if one places the Four Horsemen as outside the 70th week of Daniel, then this chapter becomes extremely subjective to the audience who is reading it. The Revelation was given to John in signs and symbols, largely pulling from the Old Testament. There is a reason for this, particularly from chapters four onward.
The Seal Judgments make up the first series of judgments that God unleashes upon the earth during the seven-year period of time known as Daniel’s 70th Week, or the time of Jacob’s Troubles. The Seal Judgments are not, man’s wrath as the Pre-Wrathers would have you believe. Let us let Scripture be the judge:
“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it” (Revelation 5:1-3).
Seemingly, no one is able to initiate these judgments from even commencing. This means that man can in no way, initiate these judgments from beginning.
“So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals” (Revelation 5:4-5).
Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the Root of David who is God come to earth in the flesh, prevailed (the triumph at the cross) to become eligible to open the Seals, initiating the final seven years of man’s time on the planet. Jesus was worthy because He was both man, and God. He was able to keep the righteousness of God, as a man and in so doing, qualified as our Kinsman Redeemer” (Leviticus 25:47-50; Ruth 4:1-20).
Rider on the White Horse (leukos-white)
“Now I 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. 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).
Although we don’t know his name, we know that he will come from somewhere out of the revived Roman Empire…otherwise known today as the European Union. We know that at first he goes out to conquer, and does so with a bow that has no arrows. The rider on the white horse is often confused with that of Christ who also returns on a white horse…but Christ has a sword that proceeds out of His mouth (Revelation 19:11-16, Hebrews 4:12-13), not a bow.
Christ also wears many crowns (diadema), as the rider on the white horse wears the ‘stephanos’ crown. If the sword is representative of Christ’s merely speaking and reigning down destruction on His enemies, then what is the bow representative of? Daniel 7:8 and 11:36-39 speaks of this same man who “speaks pompous and blasphemous words.”
Daniel 8:25 states:
“Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means.”
Some try to align the rider on the white horse with “false religious leaders” but we’ve always had those who since the 1st century, have come pretending to be “the Christ.” There were false prophets and false messiah’s even before John received the Revelation in 95AD, so to claim this as “false religious leaders” makes the timing of the Seal judgments both vague and unknowable.
The Rider on the Red Horse (pyrros-red)
“When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword” (Revelation 6:3-4).
The 20th century has been the bloodiest on record, swallowing up more human life than the previous twenty centuries combined. As of today, there are 41 active conflicts currently ongoing. After the church is removed, and the Holy Spirit’s ministry of restraint is also removed (2 Thessalonians 2:7), the world will explode in a period of violence and chaos as nations deal with millions of people who have disappeared. Rioting, looting, and civil unrest will spark the need for governments to clamp down authoritatively.
The “great sword” could speak of Islam sweeping through the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia, but will have limited impacts in Europe and America where resistance would be the greatest. In the West, the chaos generated by the Rapture will result in an “every man for himself” type of attitude, prompting people to kill to protect what is theirs on a grand scale.
Again, war has been ever-present with Man before and after Christ first coming to earth. What is referenced here is specific period that great violence would come upon the earth. And if the 20th century (which has been the bloodiest to date) did not initiate it, then no other past period of time did either.
The Rider on the Black Horse (melas-black)
“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. 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” (Revelation 6:5-6).
“And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7-8).
The economies of the world are shuttering due to mismanagement and corruption from the previous century. Marxist-Socialist ideations in many parts of the world resulted in tens of millions of people dying due to starvation. Capitalist governments turned to fiat currencies and ran up huge debts by borrowing money they can’t pay back, loaning money they don’t have, and printing money out of thin air.
The first trembler we felt was back in September 2001, but the attacks of 9/11 masked the true cause of our economic woes. Since then, 2008 was the death rattle that scared investors, bankers, and everyone else alike as we began to realize how fragile our economy really is. The financial ramifications of the Rapture of the church on the world left behind will be disastrous. The Rapture will impact some countries more than others, but will affect every other nation financially since most are dependent on the US dollar in some form or fashion. This will cause the world to clamor for a solution to the economic crisis the world finds itself in. The Antichrist will use this as a way to cement total control over the entire planet.
The Rider on the Pale Horse (chloros- green)
“When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 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” (Revelation 6:7-8).
Pandemics have risen, along with the population of the planet, in this past century. Many diseases once thought extinct are coming back with a vengeance.
New ones like the variations of the Pig and Bird flu’s are morphing from spreading by touch, to airborne transmission. The Corona virus (MERS) is one the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are particularly worried about. Not to mention the golden oldies of AIDS, Hemorrhagic Fever, Bubonic Plague, West Nile, and SARS. And thanks in part to a half century of using antibiotics, disinfectants, etc., we have managed to create super-strains of previously less serious viruses. And as the world is becoming more urban, population centers are becoming more densely populated, increasing the likelihood of future pandemics that will make the 1918 Spanish Flu seem like a measles outbreak.
The Parliament of the EU currently seats 766 Members of European Parliament (MEP) from each of the 28 nations who either have member status or observer status. I think at a certain point, Turkey could be allowed into the EU, whether as just on observer status, or as a full member. It was only just recently that Israel and Turkey parted ways diplomatically and militarily due to Tayyip Erdogan’s radicalized ideas of moving the country from a secular Muslim government to something more akin to the Muslim Brotherhood. Remember, Turkey was part of the eastern leg of the Roman Empire (Byzantine) for almost a thousand years. With the other Middle East heavy weights bogged down with their own issues; Egypt and Iraq on the cusp of a civil war, Syria in tatters awaiting impending destruction, and Iran awaiting its rendezvous with Israel, Turkey could be the bridge that the EU uses to mend the Mediterranean Union. The prophetic wars of Psalm 83, Isaiah 17 & 19, Ezekiel 38-39, and Revelation 19 still remain on the horizon. With the exception of Armageddon, it is unclear when the rest of these events take place. Something we may often overlook as a lesson in the obvious is that all these wars are in the Middle East. The Revived Roman Empire encompasses not just Europe, but the Mediterranean, which borders the Middle East. Rome, Babylon, Jerusalem, and the cities mentioned are either in the Mediterranean or the Middle East. Where is the world’s perspective almost increasingly being focused on these days thanks to the war on terror, oil, Israel/Palestinian conflict, Iran, and Al Qaeda?
This may have absolutely nothing to do with the context of the Seal Judgments, but considering the Mediterranean Union, the Middle East, and the central focus on that part of the world, and considering the colors of the horses that these riders sweep across the planet with, do you notice anything familiar?