"Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Rev 22:7

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Four horses of the Apocolypse

Introduction to the Seal Judgments

In Revelation 5, we saw that the sealed scroll the Lamb takes from the right hand of God is the "purchase deed" to the the earth. Jesus is the Kinsman Redeemer, being the only one worthy to open the sealed scroll and reclaim the earth. Subsequent chapters in Revelation show that the contents within the "purchase deed" are judgments which must come to pass on the earth before the Lord returns. These judgments are to prepare for the Lord's earthly reign in two ways: To evict the rebellious inhabitants from the earth, and turn the Jewish people back to God.

God has determined that twenty-one judgments will occur after Jesus takes the sealed scroll. The sealed "purchase deed" to the earth includes all twenty-one judgments, divided into three groups: Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls. The last Seal judgment includes the seven Trumpet judgments. The last Trumpet judgment includes the seven Bowl Judgments.

Jesus breaks the Seal judgments at the beginning of the Tribulation, followed by a "half hour of silence" (Revelation 8:1) of the "hour of trial" (Revelation 3:10 ). Silence from God shows His refrain from judgment (Psalms 50, 83, 109). Therefore, a "half hour of silence" in Heaven shows there are no judgments from God for about half the Tribulation period. (Click here for more on the "half hour of silence"). After this "half hour of silence," the rest of the judgments from Heaven occur over the second half of the Tribulation, in what Jesus calls "great tribulation" (Matthew 24:21):

Sealed Scroll

There are seven Seal judgments. "Seven" is the number of perfection or fullness:

    "In the Hebrew, 7 is shevah. It is from the root savah, to be full or satisfied, have enough of. Hence the meaning of the word "seven" is dominated by this root, for on the seventh day God rested from the work of Creation. It was full and complete, and good and perfect. Nothing could be added to it or taken from it without marring it. Hence the word Shavath, to cease, desist, rest, and Shabbath, Sabbath, or day of rest...."

    "Another meaning of the root Shavagh is to swear, or make an oath. It is clear from its first occurrence in Genesis 21:31, "They sware both of them," that this oath was based upon the "seven ewe lambs" (verses 28-30), which point to the idea of satisfaction or fullness in an oath. It was the security, satisfaction, and fullness of the obligation, or completeness of the bond, which caused the same word to be used for both the number seven and an oath; and hence it is written, "an oath for confirmation is an end of all strife." Beer-sheba, the well of the oath, is the standing witness of the spiritual perfection of the number 7."

    Source: BibleStudy.org

The Lord's feasts, sabbaths, and jubilees are replete with the number "seven":

Creation Week

We also find the number "seven" in how long the Lord said He would punish Israel for their sins:

Leviticus 26:18, 21, 23-24, 27-28 - And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.... Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins.... And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.... And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.

The Tribulation, or "Daniel's 70th Week," begins when Israel and the antichrist confirm a covenant (Daniel 9:27). God gave Israel 70 "weeks" in which He would punish their transgressing of the Law before the Messiah would come to rule:

Daniel 9:24 - "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy."

History has shown us that the 70 weeks are 70 "weeks" of years, or 490 years. There were 483 years from the command to Nehemiah to restore and build Jerusalem after Israel's exile until Jesus died, being "cut off" (Daniel 9:26). During those 483 years, God punished Israel under the yoke of Gentile rule. After the cross, God turned away from Israel because they rejected His Son (Romans 11).

There are seven years left of the 70 "weeks" of punishment. Today we live in the gap between the 483 years and the last seven years. During these last seven years, God will turn back to Israel. However, God will punish Israel along with His enemies through the judgments recorded in the "purchase deed" of the earth.

In the last seven years, three groups of seven judgments will complete or fulfill the 70 weeks of Gentile rule and punishment determined by God in Daniel 9. "Three" is the number of completion:

    "Two straight lines cannot possibly enclose any space, or form a plane figure; neither can two plan surfaces form a solid. Three lines are necessary to form a plane figure; and 3 dimensions of length, breadth, and height, are necessary to form a solid. Hence the number is the symbol of the cube -- the simplest form of solid figure. As two is the symbol of the square, or plane contents (x*x), so three is the symbol of the cube, or solid contents (x*x*x)."

    "Three, therefore, stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire. All things that are specially complete are stamped with this number...."

    Source: Biblestudy.org

Clearly God's number of spiritual perfection, or fullness, characterizes His complete and final punishment against Israel:

The Number "7" Scripture Reference
Lamb has 7 horns, 7 eyes, and 7 Spirits Revelation 5:6
7 Years of Jacob's trouble Jeremiah 30:7, Daniel 9:24
Last "week" of 70 weeks Daniel 9:24
7 Seals Revelation 6, 8
7 Trumpets Revelation 8-9, 11
7 Bowls Revelation 15-16

God has made seven covenants with man. Some believe God put a seal on the "purchase deed" to the earth for each covenant He made with man. God never breaks His covenants, but man does and is judged for it. It is interesting that when the Lord breaks each seal, the essence of each covenant manifests in a judgment related to that covenant:

Covenant Covenant Description Seal Judgments Seal Description
(Genesis 1:26-30)
Dominion over creation Seal 1
Dominion by the lawless one begins.
(Genesis 9)
God would never destroy the earth and flesh again by water. People were not to eat flesh with blood in it. Seal 2
Peace taken from the earth
Destruction of the earth begins by removal of peace and bloodshed, not by water.
(Genesis 15)
Inheritance of the land given to the chosen seed. Seal 3
Global Famine & Inflation
The land becomes cursed.
(Leviticus 26)
The Lord gave the Law to Israel. Obedience brought blessings and peace. Disobedience brought God's four severe judgments of death. Seal 4
One of the purposes of "Daniel's 70th Week" is to "finish the transgression," which is judgment for breaking the Law (Daniel 9:24).
(2 Samuel 7:8-16)
Eternal seed would come through David. God will cut off enemies who oppress Israel. Seal 5
Vengeance on those who martyr the saints
The Lord will destroy His enemies avenging the blood of His saints.
New Covenant
(Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Israel will know God and He will write the Law on their hearts and minds. Seal 6
Cosmic disturbances
The world will acknowledge God.
Covenant of Peace
(Ezekiel 37:26)
God will be at peace with Israel. Seal 7
Silence in Heaven
No judgments
God will withhold His judgment for a "half hour."

In the "Olivet Discourse," we saw the birth pangs that start in the last days will begin on a regional scale. These birth pangs will increase and culminate into specific judgments from God with global consequences during "Daniel's 70th Week" in the Seal judgments:

Regional Birth PangsGlobal Seal Judgments
Many false christs
Matthew 24:4-5,11, Mark 13:5-6, Luke 21:8
1st Seal
One ultimate false christ, the Antichrist
Revelation 6:1-2
Wars and rumors of wars
Matthew 24:6-7, Mark 13:7-8, Luke 21:9
2nd Seal
Global war
Revelation 6:3-4
Famine, pestilence and troubles in various places
Matthew 24:7-8, Mark 13:8, Luke 21:11
3rd & 4th Seal
Global scarcity. 1/4th of the earth subject to death
Revelation 6:5-8
Persecution and martyr of some saints
Matthew 24:9,13 & Mark 13:9-13
5th Seal
Martyr of saints unrestrained
Revelation 6:9-11
Earthquakes in various places
Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8, Luke 21:11
6th Seal
Wrath of the Lamb worldwide earthquake
Revelation 6:12-17

Four horses ride throughout the earth in the first four Seal judgments. Recall from Zechariah 6:8, the spirit horses' mission is to quiet the fury of the Spirit of the Lord. His "fury" is judgment unto wrath. In the Tribulation, the Lord's fury will be against "all nations":

Isaiah 34:2-4, 8 - For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter. Also their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree.... For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.

Just as these spiritual horses came with God's judgment against the nations during the first 483 years of "Daniel's 70 Weeks," we will see in the next few sections, they will come again with God's judgment against the nations during the final seven years.

Revelation 6:1-8

Revelation 6:1 - Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals...

John witnesses the Lamb breaking the first seal on the scroll, or the "purchase deed" to the earth. Recall from Revelation 5:9, the Lamb is the only one worthy to open the seals on the "purchase deed." The song of redemption sung by the elders and living creatures explains why the Lord is worthy to take the "purchase deed" and break its seals. The Lord's sacrifice paid the price:

Romans 3:23-25 - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood....
Hebrews 9:11-12, 15 - But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.... And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 - For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

It is important to note, the Lamb not only opens the first seal, but He opens ALL the seals. As we will see in Revelation 8, the last seal includes the last fourteen judgments in Revelation. In other words, it is Christ who administers all twenty-one judgments.

Revelation 6:1 - ...and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, "Come and see."

Click here for commentary on the four living creatures.

After Jesus opens the first seal, one the four living creatures beckons John to witness what happens on the earth in response to the breaking of the seal; to "come and see" how God is going to deal with man:

Psalms 66:5-7 - Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; they went through the river on foot. There we will rejoice in Him. He rules by His power forever; His eyes observe the nations; do not let the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

The first living creature speaks with a thunderous voice. It appears that Ezekiel also heard a thunderous voice from a similar living creature, one of the cherubim (Ezekiel 10):

Ezekiel 3:12-13 - Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a great thunderous voice: "Blessed is the glory of the LORD from His place!" I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, and a great thunderous noise.

The Lord's voice is also like thunder, showing His greatness:

1 Samuel 2:10 - The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.
Job 37:2-5 - Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that comes from His mouth. He sends it forth under the whole heaven, His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.
Psalms 18:7-14 - Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire. The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.
Psalms 77:16-20 - The waters saw You, O God; the waters saw You, they were afraid; the depths also trembled. The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound; Your arrows also flashed about. The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightnings lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, and Your footsteps were not known. You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

The thunderous voice of the first living creature, likewise, shows the immense and formidable nature of what is about to happen on the earth. "Daniel's 70th Week," or the "time of Jacob's trouble," will be an unprecedented time in the history of man:

Jeremiah 30:7 - Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble....

Revelation 6:2 - And I looked, and behold, a white horse.

White horse

The four living creatures announce the arrival of four horses in the first four seals. Each horse has a rider, but the horse draws our attention. The horses' prominence over the horsemen should draw us to seek meaning in other Scripture to their significance. Recall that we saw these horses tied to God's judgment in the book of Zechariah, as discussed in the introduction.

Recall from Revelation 1:14, the color white usually represents purity and cleansing from sin (Isaiah 1:18, Psalms 51:5-7). However, in the context of this passage in Revelation, white symbolizes conquest. Incidentally, artist have often depicted great military leaders like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and others riding white horses in their portraits.

The Tribulation begins with the arrival of a white horse with a conquering rider, and ends with the arrival of a white horse with a conquering rider:

Revelation 19:11-15 - Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

These two white horses, however, are not the same. As discussed in the introduction, the first white horse on conquest has connections to the other three horses that follow. The white horse that comes at the end of the Tribulation also has a rider coming in conquest, but its rider comes to put an end to the judgments. In other words, while both white horses come in conquest, the first wreaks havoc in destruction and the last comes to bring peace to the world. The rider of the last white horse is clearly the Lord Jesus Christ, the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). The rider of the first white horse is different, as noted below:

White horse at the
beginning of the Tribulation
(Revelation 6)
White Horse at the
end of the Tribulation
(Revelation 19)
Rider has a bow Rider has a sword
Rider has a victor's crown (stephanos) Rider has royal crowns (diadems)
Followed by different
colored horses of judgment
Followed by the armies
in Heaven on white horses
Peace taken from the earth
by the red horse that follows
Peace brought to the earth
by the rider on the white horse

Revelation 6:2 - He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

The rider of the first white horse carries a bow. A bow is a weapon of war:

1 Chronicles 5:18 - The sons of Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty valiant men, men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with the bow, and skillful in war, who went to war.
Isaiah 21:15 - For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the distress of war.
Jeremiah 6:23 - They will lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, as men of war set in array against you, O daughter of Zion.
2 Samuel 22:35 - He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

God uses the bow in judgment:

Psalms 7:11-12 - God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready.
Jeremiah 46:9-10 - Come up, O horses, and rage, O chariots! And let the mighty men come forth: The Ethiopians and the Libyans who handle the shield, and the Lydians who handle and bend the bow. For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that He may avenge Himself on His adversaries. The sword shall devour; it shall be satiated and made drunk with their blood; for the Lord GOD of hosts has a sacrifice in the north country by the River Euphrates.
Jeremiah 50:14-15 - "Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around, all you who bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD. Shout against her all around; she has given her hand, her foundations have fallen, her walls are thrown down; for it is the vengeance of the LORD. Take vengeance on her. As she has done, so do to her."
Lamentations 2:4 - Standing like an enemy, He has bent His bow; with His right hand, like an adversary, He has slain all who were pleasing to His eye; on the tent of the daughter of Zion, He has poured out His fury like fire.
Zechariah 9:13 - For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you like the sword of a mighty man.

The first white horse comes in conquest. Many believe that the rider of this white horse is the antichrist, as he will set out to conquer the nations:

Daniel 11:39-44 - Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.
Daniel 8:24 - His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. 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.

Conquest does not necessarily come with war. Some believe that because there is no mention of arrows with the bow, the rider of the first white horse comes to conquer in diplomacy. However, there are other passages that do not mention arrows, but they are implied:

2 Samuel 1:22 - From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, and the sword of Saul did not return empty.
1 Kings 22:34 - Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, "Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded."
2 Chronicles 17:17 - Of Benjamin: Eliada a mighty man of valor, and with him two hundred thousand men armed with bow and shield.

That said, the antichrist does begin his conquest in diplomacy, before using military means to expand his power. Note that the following prophecy in Daniel 11 was partly fulfilled in history by Antiochus Epiphanes, but complete fulfillment is yet future in the antichrist:

Daniel 11:21-24 - And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.
Daniel 9:26-27 - ...And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary... he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week....

This covenant of peace is a false peace and a "covenant with death" (Isaiah 28:15-22), in contrast to the true covenant of peace, which the Lord will make with Israel when He returns:

Ezekiel 34:25, 27-28 - I will make a covenant of peace with them.... They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid.

Recall from Zechariah 6:5, the four horses the Lord sends out in judgment, including the white horse, are spirit beings. The passages below describe similar spirit horses with riders that are spirit beings as well:

2 Kings 2:11-12 - Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.
Joel 2:3-5, 7-9, 11 - A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; surely nothing shall escape them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; and like swift steeds, so they run. With a noise like chariots over mountaintops they leap, like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, like a strong people set in battle array.... They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, they are not cut down. They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief.... The LORD gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?

The rider of the white horse is not the antichrist himself, as he is a man (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Rather, the evidence suggests that the rider is the spirit of lawlessness. There are at least two archers in Scripture who were antichrist types, which support this notion. The first archer in the Bible was Ishmael (Genesis 21:21). Another famous archer was Esau (Genesis 27:1-4). As shown in the study: "Nationality of the Antichrist," the spirit of lawlessness has manifest in the offspring of Ishmael and Esau. The antichrist may even be offspring from this same cursed line. Whether or not this is the case, the antichrist will certainly be operating in the spirit of lawlessness.

Note the white horse or its rider cannot be the spirit of antichrist. The spirit of antichrist works to deny Christ:

1 John 4:2-3 - By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

The man who will be the antichrist will work in both the spirit of antichrist, denying Christ, and the spirit of lawlessness, set out to conquer by any means.

The rider on the first white horse wears a crown. The crown of the first rider is a "stephanos." As discussed in the "Pre-Tribulation Rapture" study, the "stephanos" is the victor's crown. In the ancient Olympics, judges awarded ivy crowns or wreaths, called "stephanos," to the winners of the various events at the "Bema." They still do this at the Olympics and other athletic events today, using medals instead of crowns. This crown is different from the crowns the Lord Jesus Christ wears when He returns on the last white horse in Revelation.

The Lord has "diadems," or crowns of royalty on His head when He returns to the earth (Revelation 19:12). That said, the Lord does wear the "stephanos" in Revelation 14:14, when He harvests the last of the souls of the Tribulation Saints to Heaven, before He returns. Wearing the "stephanos" in this instance shows the Lord's victory in winning souls through the trials of the Tribulation.

The crown of thorns put on the Lord's head at His crucifixion is also called a "stephanos" (Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:17, John 19:2, 5). The thorns represent His rejection (Hebrews 6:8). But this rejection led to victory over sin and death because of the cross (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). In contrast, when the Lord returns wearing "diadems," it symbolizes His royalty as "King of kings":

Revelation 19:12, 16 - ...on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.... And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Since the "stephanos" is a crown of victory, the rider of the first white horse wearing this type of crown signifies victory in his conquest:

Revelation 13:4-7 - So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
Daniel 8:23-25 - "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. "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.""

The reason the antichrist will be successful in conquest through the Tribulation period, is because of the unrestrained spirit of lawlessness working through him until the Lord returns:

2 Thessalonians 2:7-9 - 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. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.

In short, the white horse rides out in judgment when the Lamb of God breaks the first seal on the "purchase deed" to the earth. The rider on the white horse has characteristics of the antichrist, but other scriptures show that the horses and their riders sent out by God are spirit beings. Therefore, the first white horse and his rider represent the spirit of lawlessness, who operates through the antichrist in victorious conquest, first by diplomacy, and later by military force.

Revelation 6:3 - When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come and see."

Click here for commentary on the four living creatures.

When the Lamb of God opens the second seal, the second living creature calls John to see what happens on the earth in response, just as the first living creature did after the Lord broke the first seal. John does not say if the voice of the second living creature is thunderous (Revelation 6:1). This may suggest that the first horse and its rider are more significant because a thundering voice is like the Almighty's voice:

Job 37:2-5 - Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that comes from His mouth. He sends it forth under the whole heaven, His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.

Revelation 6:4 - Another horse, fiery red, went out.

red horse

The second horse that rides out, after the Lamb of God breaks the second seal, is a "fiery red" color. This is the same color as the dragon described in Revelation 12:3. Red in Scripture signifies sin and bloodshed:

Isaiah 1:18 - "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 63:2-3 - Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
2 Kings 3:22-24 - Then they rose up early in the morning, and the sun was shining on the water; and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood. And they said, "This is blood; the kings have surely struck swords and have killed one another; now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!" So when they came to the camp of Israel, Israel rose up and attacked the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they entered their land, killing the Moabites.

Revelation 6:4 - 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.

The red horse comes to take peace from the earth; thus, red signifies bloodshed in this context. The rider of the first horse brings a false peace, which later ends in conquest. Daniel 9:27 and Isaiah 28:15-22 show this false peace, or "covenant with death," will last through the first half of "Daniel's 70th Week." Therefore, the peace covenant confirmed between Israel and the antichrist is different from the peace that the rider of the red horse takes from the earth, as Jesus breaks this seal near the beginning of "Daniel's 70th Week," but the "covenant with death" continues to the middle of the Tribulation.

Peace taken from the earth shows the global nature of this judgment. Some believe many of the Seal judgments are already manifesting as the birth pangs described in Matthew 24, which lead up to the Tribulation period. The fact that the world has not dissolved into anarchy, as described here in Revelation is evidence that the Lord has not broken open this seal, or any of the seals yet.

When the rider on the red horse takes peace from the earth, people kill each other. The Greek word translated as "kill," means to slay, slaughter, or butcher. This is not the first time in Scripture God turns people on each other in judgment:

2 Chronicles 20:14-15, 22-24 - Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's....'" Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.
1 Samuel 14:12, 20, 23 - Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, "Come up to us, and we will show you something." Jonathan said to his armorbearer, "Come up after me, for the LORD has delivered them into the hand of Israel." ...Then Saul and all the people who were with him assembled, and they went to the battle; and indeed every man's sword was against his neighbor, and there was very great confusion.... So the LORD saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth Aven.
Judges 7:20-22 - Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers - they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing - and they cried, "The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!" And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man's sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

Like in the story of Gideon, the rider of the red horse has the "sword of the Lord." I believe the sword that causes people to kill each other, is the same sword of the Lord in the following passage, about the "Gog and Magog War":

Ezekiel 38:21 - "I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains," says the Lord GOD. "Every man's sword will be against his brother."

Later, we will see that more parallels to the "Gog and Magog War" are found in other Seal judgments, which suggest this war is part of the opening act of the Tribulation period, or "Daniel's 70th Week."

While the following verse is in the context of discipleship and the ramifications of following Christ, it is interesting that Christ says that He did not come the first time to bring peace, but a sword:

Matthew 10:34 - "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword."

Absolute peace on the earth has been elusive. Until Jesus returns at the end of the Tribulation, true peace will not come. However, the significance in Christ breaking the second seal, is that any semblance of peace that was on the earth will end, resulting in anarchy and unrestrained violence.

Revelation 6:5 - 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.

black horse

Click here for commentary on the four living creatures.

A third living creature announces the third seal. John sees a black horse with a rider holding a pair of scales. Black is biblically associated with desolation and famine:

Jeremiah 4:27-28 - For thus says the LORD: "The whole land shall be desolate; yet I will not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black, because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent, nor will I turn back from it."
Lamentations 4:8 - Now their appearance is blacker than soot; they go unrecognized in the streets; their skin clings to their bones, it has become as dry as wood. 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.

A "pair of scales" is a device with two scales hung and balanced on a center beam. Pre-measured stones act as counter weights to measure items such as food or currency. The next verse shows the context of the black horse is indeed desolation and famine.

Revelation 6:6 - 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..."

The voice John heard is presumably that of the Lord, as the four living creatures are around Him on His throne in Heaven:

Revelation 5:6 - And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

It appears that a denarius was a fair day's wages in the first century:

Matthew 20:2 - Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

A quart of wheat or barley is enough to feed one person for a day. After Jesus breaks the third seal, a person working might make enough wages to eat, but not enough to cover any other necessities of life, let alone feed more than a few family members, that is if they buy barley instead of wheat. Therefore, the picture painted here is of famine, which causes rampant inflation. Incidentally, inflation and famine usually follow war. Therefore, it is no surprise that after peace ceases on the earth (Revelation 6:4) both famine and inflation become a global issue.

As noted in the last section, the color black denotes desolation and famine. Wheat and barley are staple grains used to make bread. The following passages confirm that eating "bread by weight" signifies famine:

Ezekiel 4:16-17 - Moreover He said to me, "Son of man, surely I will cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and shall drink water by measure and with dread, that they may lack bread and water, and be dismayed with one another, and waste away because of their iniquity."
Leviticus 26:26 - When I have cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back your bread by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.

Revelation 6:6 - "...and do not harm the oil and the wine."

The voice from the midst of the four living creatures orders the third horse not to harm the oil and wine in this judgment. The popular belief is that not harming the oil and wine indicates the rich and elite escape this judgment, because oil and wine are not necessities for life, and therefore considered luxury items. However, oil and wine were common staples, as was wheat and barley:

Deuteronomy 7:13 - And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.
2 Chronicles 2:15 - Now therefore, the wheat, the barley, the oil, and the wine which my lord has spoken of, let him send to his servants.
2 Chronicles 31:5 - As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.
Nehemiah 5:11 - Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them.

Historically, it is true that the rich generally benefit from inflation. The drought in the Middle East at the time of Joseph demonstrates this:

Genesis 47:13-17 - Now there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, for the grain which they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. So when the money failed in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, "Give us bread, for why should we die in your presence? For the money has failed." Then Joseph said, "Give your livestock, and I will give you bread for your livestock, if the money is gone." So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the cattle of the herds, and for the donkeys. Thus he fed them with bread in exchange for all their livestock that year.
Genesis 47:18-22 - When that year had ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, "We will not hide from my lord that our money is gone; my lord also has our herds of livestock. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants of Pharaoh; give us seed, that we may live and not die, that the land may not be desolate." Then Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for every man of the Egyptians sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. So the land became Pharaoh's. And as for the people, he moved them into the cities, from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other end. Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had rations allotted to them by Pharaoh, and they ate their rations which Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their lands.
Genesis 47:23-25 - Then Joseph said to the people, "Indeed I have bought you and your land this day for Pharaoh. Look, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the harvest that you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh. Four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and for your food, for those of your households and as food for your little ones." So they said, "You have saved our lives; let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants."

Pharaoh became exceedingly wealthy because of the drought, simply because of the nature of supply and demand. As the supply of grain went down, the price went up, until the people sold themselves into slavery. Generally, the wealthy buy up whatever is of value during hard times, whether it is in food or other commodities, and then make a profit during the recovery period. It is interesting to note that by the end of the Tribulation, Babylon will be a rich city marked by an ample supply of all sorts of merchandise and food, including oil and wine. The world's wealth will pour into this great city, while most are starving in the world:

Revelation 18:10-13 - '...Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.' "And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men."

Another possible interpretation of not harming the oil and wine is that olive trees and grape vines have deep roots, which make them more drought resistant than other plants. In other words, the famine brought by the black horse will not become severe enough to harm the olive trees and grape vines. The prophet Haggai spoke of a drought that was severe enough to harm even the wine and oil:

Haggai 1:10-11 - Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.

I favor a literal interpretation foremost, so I believe the famine will not become severe enough to harm olive trees and grape vines, unlike the famine in Haggai's day. That said, history has proven over and over that the rich prosper in difficult times. The city Babylon, being full of luxury amid a world in devastation, supports the figurative view that the rich will coast through unaffected by the inflation brought on by the famine that ensues, when the black horse rides out. In other words, this prophecy may have both literal and symbolic fulfillment.

Revelation 6:7 - When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see."

Click here for commentary on the four living creatures.

The fourth living creature beckons John come and see what judgment the Lord is sending on the earth with the breaking of the fourth seal.

Revelation 6:8 - So I looked, and behold, a pale horse.

Pale horse

John describes the last horse as "chloros," which is the Greek word for green. The same word is found in Mark 6:39, Revelation 8:7, and Revelation 9:4, to describe the color of grass and plants. Green has a large color spectrum. A horse the color of green grass does not seem to fit the context of this horse being connected with death, as shown in the next section, which is probably why most translators call it a "pale" horse, being a greenish-yellow color.

Pale horse

Recall from Zechariah 6:3, it is probable the pale horse is the same kind as those described by Zechariah as sorrel, spotted, speckled, dappled, mottled, or grisled. John's focus is on the color of the horse, while Zechariah's focus is on the pattern of the horses. The horse to the right fits the descriptions given by both John and Zechariah:

Revelation 6:8 - And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him.

The rider on the pale horse has the name "Death." We often see this rider pictured as the "Grim Reaper," a skeleton figure cloaked in black, carrying a large sickle. The "Grim Reaper" is prevalent in pop culture, having origins in mythology and paganism. Even so, "Death" appears as a real entity, as John describes him as the rider on the pale horse and Zechariah describes the riders of the horses as "spirits of Heaven" (Zechariah 6:5).

We find "Death" and "the grave" together in Scripture when referring to the physical death of the body:

Psalms 49:14 - Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them; the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.

Hades is the place for the souls in the heart of the earth:

Matthew 12:40 - For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Acts 2:31 - ...concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.

"Sheol" is Hebrew for "Hades" in the Greek. Isaiah personifies Shoel, or Hades:

Isaiah 38:18 - For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.

These spiritual entities, together, show that judgment in the form of death is coming to the earth. During the Tribulation, those who are believers do not go to Hades, but to Heaven (Revelation 6:9-11, Revelation 7:9-15). We see that this judgment of death is on unbelievers because Hades is following Death, which is where lost souls go to await final judgment, before the second death in the lake of fire:

Revelation 20:13-14 - The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Recall from Revelation 1:18, Jesus has the keys of Death and Hades, which represents His power to release believers from their bondage because He paid the penalty for death:

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 - So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 6:8 - 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 scope of the white, red, and black horse is global. The pale horse has power to judge a fourth of the earth with the four severe judgments of God. We find these four judgments elsewhere in Scripture as follows:

Revelation 6 Ezekiel 14 Ezekiel 5 Ezekiel 33 Jeremiah 15
Sword Sword Sword Sword Sword
Hunger Famine Famine Desolate land Famine
Death Pestilence Pestilence & blood Pestilence Death
Beasts Wild Beasts Wild Beasts Beasts Beasts

Click here for more on the four severe judgments of God.

Notice that the rider on the pale horse has the same power as the riders on the red and black horses; the power to kill people by sword and famine. The variegated color of this horse may visibly show this manifold judgment of God, which includes some of the judgments of the solid-colored horses. In other words, the solid-colored horses only bear one type of judgment, but the variegated colored horse delivers multiples types of judgment. These judgments will exacerbate those same judgments brought by the previous horses to a fourth of the earth.

Some believe this passage indicates that a fourth of the world's population will die at the hands of the fourth rider. However, the Greek word for "earth" is "gé," which refers to soil or land, in contrast to "anthrópos" for "mankind" (Revelation 9:15). Correlations to the "Gog and Magog War" also support that a fourth of the world's geography is in view, rather than the population. The fact that the inhabitants of Israel burn weapons for seven years, suggests this war will occur at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation (Ezekiel 39:9). Consider the following parallels between the Seal judgments and the "Gog and Magog War":

Seal Judgments Gog and Magog War
False peace under diplomatic conquest
(Revelation 6:2)
Israel believes they are living in "peace and safety" (Ezekiel 38:8)
Death by sword
(Revelation 6:8)
Every man's sword will be against his brother (Ezekiel 38:21, Haggai 2:22)
Death by pestilence
(Revelation 6:8)
Judgment by pestilence
(Ezekiel 38:22)
Death by the beasts of the earth
(Revelation 6:8)
Devoured by beasts of the field
(Ezekiel 39:4)
Great earthquake
(Revelation 6:12 )
Great earthquake
(Ezekiel 38:19-20)
Earthquake and cosmic disturbances
(Revelation 6:12-14 )
God will shake Heaven and the earth
(Haggai 2:21)
Sun black as sackcloth and
moon like blood (Revelation 6:12)
Sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood (Joel 2:31)
God's wrath has come
(Revelation 6:17)
God's wrath comes with fire
(Ezekiel 38:18-19, Zechariah 2:4-6)

As discussed in the "Gog and Magog War," God will not only send destruction on Gog's armies, but the damage will extend back to the attackers' countries, particularly the coastlands (Ezekiel 39:6). In other words, it is not just the armies that will see destruction on the mountains of Israel, but also the land they come from. Indeed, the geography of the countries involved in the "Gog and Magog War" is roughly a quarter of the world's landmass:

Gog and Magog Nations

While the destruction on Gog's army is first by fire, the fourth horse will ride out bringing more destruction by sword, hunger, pestilence, and beasts. As shown in Zechariah 6:6-7, these four severe judgments of God naturally follow war. War causes scarcity of resources and breeds pestilence. When natural resources dwindle, wild beasts begin to attack humans for food. The "Gog and Magog War" will be no different, but on a larger scale than ever before seen on the earth.

Click here for more parallels of the Seal judgments to the "Gog and Magog War."

As an aside, there is another place in Scripture where we find the four severe judgments of God mentioned together. Interestingly, Eliphaz, one of Job's not so understanding friends, mentions these judgments as a form of chastisement:

Job 5:17-22 - "Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole. He shall deliver you in six troubles, yes, in seven no evil shall touch you. In famine He shall redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, and you shall not be afraid of destruction when it comes. You shall laugh at destruction and famine, and you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth."

Job's friends were wrong about a lot of things. Here Eliphaz confused chastisement with God's judgment and wrath. However, a believer in the Tribulation period could find comfort in this passage. The seven "troubles" could be a prophetic parallel of the seven years of Tribulation, in addition to the four severe judgments listed here that occur at the breaking of the fourth of seven seals. No matter what physically happens to the Tribulation Saints, God will restore them (Revelation 7:13-17, Revelation 20:4).

Significance of the number "four"

Some might wonder why there are only four horses, instead of seven in the Seal judgments. The answer lies in the number "four" and its significance. Recall from the introduction to the four living creatures (Revelation 4:6), the number "four" relates to the earth:

The number "four"Scripture reference
Four cardinal directions
(West, East, North, South)
Genesis 28:14
Four corners and four windsRevelation 7:1
Four elements separated in the first four days of creation (Solid, liquid, and gaseous material & fire)Genesis 1:1-19
Four divisions of the day
(Morning, day, evening, night)
Genesis 1:5
Four seasons of the year
(Seed, summer, harvest, winter)
Genesis 8:22
Four watches of the nightMatthew 14:25, Mark 6:48,
Luke 12:38
Four phases or ordinances of the moon Jeremiah 31:35
Four kinds of creatures made for earth
(Sea, air, ground, and man as head over them)
Genesis 1:21-26
Four types of creatures named by Adam
(Domesticated, birds, wild beasts, and man)
Genesis 2:19, 23 & 3:20
Four descriptions of man
(Tribe, tongue, people, nation)
Revelation 5:9, 7:9, 11:9, 14:6
Four global empires that ruled Jerusalem
(Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman)
Daniel 7

In Revelation 4:7 , we saw Israel's tribes divided into four camps, patterned after the four living creatures in Heaven:

Creature Likeness Tribe Direction in camp
1st Living Creature Lion Judah East
2nd Living Creature Calf/Bull/Ox Ephraim West
3rd Living Creature Man Reuben South
4th Living Creature Flying Eagle Dan North

These four living creatures announce the arrival of four horses and horsemen riding in judgment. The fourth horse brings the "four severe judgments" of God:

Color of Horse Color meaning Judgment on the earth The spirit riding on the horse
White Horse Conquest
(Revelation 6:2 )
False peace, conquest of the antichrist Lawlessness/Conquest
Red Horse Bloodshed
(Isaiah 63:1-3)
Peace taken from the earth by the sword War
Black Horse Famine, desolation (Jeremiah 4:27-28, Lamentations 4:8-9) Famine Famine
Pale Green Horse Death
(Revelation 6:8 )
Death by the sword, famine, pestilence, and beasts Death followed by Hades

Note the following correlations to the first four days of creation with the four horses:

Color of Horse White Horse Red Horse Black Horse Pale Green Horse
Judgment on the earth False peace, conquest of the antichrist Peace taken from the earth by the sword Famine Death by the sword, famine, pestilence, and beasts
Day of Creation Day 1 - Division of light and darkness Day 2 - Division of waters Day 3 - Plant life Day 4 - Division of day and night and the seasons

The antichrist is the tool God uses to divide the children of light from the children of darkness (John 8:12) in the Tribulation period. Global war will cause chaos and division among the "waters," or Gentile nations (Revelation 17:15), which will allow the antichrist to form his global government. Famine occurs due to reduced availability of plants for food. The animals eaten as food also depend on the grain of the land to thrive. All life is dependent on the sun and the seasons.

Note the antitypes to Christ and the four horses:

Color of Horse White Horse Red Horse Black Horse Pale Green Horse
Spirit of Judgment Lawlessness/Conquest War/Bloodshed Famine Death
Christ Sovereign God of order Sacrificed Himself Is the bread of life Has the keys over Death and Hades

Below are parallels of the four living creatures to Christ and the four Gospels accounts:

Creature 1st Living Creature 2nd Living Creature 3rd Living Creature 4th Living Creature
Likeness Lion Calf/Bull/Ox Man Eagle
Type of creature Beasts Domesticated Human Birds of the air
Gospel Matthew Mark Luke John
Gospel Theme Heir to the throne of David Servant/Sacrifice Son of Man Kingdom of Heaven
Role of Christ King of Kings Messiah/Savior Kinsmen Redeemer Divine/Creator

To recap, Jesus, the Creator, has opened the first four seals of the "purchase deed" to the earth. The four living creatures, which bear the likeness of the creatures on the earth and the tribal camps of Israel, announce the first four judgments on the earth. The four horses have parallels back to the first four days of creation. Christ Himself has parallels back to the four living creatures, with antitypes to the four horses. In other words, the number "four" represents the Creator and Creation in Scripture.

It is no surprise that we find the number "four" replete in the "purchase deed" of the earth, which is really a deed to the creation. As we will see, a shift in focus of judgment on the earth in the first four seals extends to the spiritual realm in the last three seals. Incidentally, the number three means complete, or divine, as shown in the study: "Prophetic Pattern in Numbers," which fits the focus of the last three Seal judgments.

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