WHO are the four Horsemen?
WHAT do they represent?
And most importantly:
WHEN do the events they usher in take place?
It doesn’t take much effort to determine what the four horsemen represent by simply reading Revelation chapter 6. It is pretty straightforward, with the exception of the white horse and its rider. After reading part 1 and 2 of Terms and Conditions, you should by now have a decent understanding that this white horseman symbolizes the emergence of the Antichrist. BUT, this horsemen is sometimes thought to represent Christ, or the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world because “white” is supposed to be symbolic of purity, holiness and righteousness. In this case, it would be understood that the Gospel of Christ “conquers” the world right until things take a hard turn for the worse. It’s a fair argument. But when we once again look at the terms presented in the passage in Revelation and the context of the entire passage as a whole, it will help us truly determine what this horseman represents.
First, lets examine the passage directly from scripture. It states,
And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. – Revelation 6:2
Lets break down the elements associated with the horse and its rider:
Carries a Bow
Given a crown
We already talked about the first term used to characterize this horseman: “white”. BUT, there is more here that will help us see that not everything is as it first appears. We see that this rider carries a Bow. This is not to be taken literally. Most Biblical scholars agree that the language used regarding these horsemen are largely figurative. We see literal uses and descriptions of bows in the Bible being used to carry out good. But when a bow is spoken of in a figurative sense, there is often a different implication behind it. According to Hebrew tradition, a bow is a symbol of victory, but also indicates falsehood or deceit. (Psalms 64:3-6, Hosea 7:16, Jeremiah 9:3)
Psalm 64:3-6 –
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, Who sharpen their tongue like a sword, And bend their bows to shoot their arrows–bitter words, That they may shoot in secret at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear. They encourage themselves in an evil matter; They talk of laying snares secretly; They say, “Who will see them?” They devise iniquities: “We have perfected a shrewd scheme.” Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.
Hosea 7:15-16 –
Though I trained and strengthened their arms, Yet they devise evil against Me; They turn, but not to the Most High; They are like a deceitful bow. Their princes shall fall by the sword because of the insolence of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Jeremiah 9:3 –
“They bend their tongue like their bow: lies and not truth prevail in the land; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me,” declares the Lord.
“Bend their tongue like their bow”. “They are like a deceitful bow”. “They shoot in secret at the blameless”. “They perfected a shrewd scheme”. All of these examples associate a bow with deceit; that something shady is going on behind the scenes, or that things aren’t as they seem.
Taking this same concept of the bow helps paint the picture of what this white horse and its rider represents. His horse is white, and we should know that Satan is the “imitator” or “counterfeit” of Christ. He is seen throughout the Bible as disguising himself as an angel of light. This white horse and its rider symbolizes the Antichrist/counterfeit Christ who comes to conquer the world. He is Satan’s demonic messiah. (Daniel 8:24).
He was “Given a crown” and having purpose “to conquer” –
The word for “crown” here also indicates that this is not representing Jesus or his Gospel message being preached. The Greek text in Revelations 6 reveals that the crown given is called “στέφανος” (stephanos) that is a crown of victory worn by a military conqueror. The Greek word for the crown that Christ wears in Revelation 19 is “διάδημα”, (diadema) or a crown of royalty. Strong’s Dictionary considers “stephanos” as being “more conspicuous and elaborate than “diadema”. The militaristic understanding of what this crown symbolizes also better fits into the context of the passage, where we see war taking place, having just been told that this Antichrist is come to conquer. It would follow suit that the wars taking place is led by the Antichrist, who’s purpose is to conquer.
Now let’s make more sense of the greater picture. I truly believe that Satan has deceived much of the church in regards to Matthew 24 because it is the lynchpin to understanding the order of end times events up until the rapture of Christians. Once again, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 says,
“Let no man deceive you in any way, for that Day (our gathering together to Him) will NOT come unless apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as bein God. (Abomination of Desolation)
Now, what does Matthew 24 say on the matter? Lets continue breaking it down and talk through it.
Matthew 24:4 says that Many will come claiming to be the messiah. The Antichrist is among that, as being one “claiming to be the messiah”. (White horse/1st seal) Then nation will rise against nation. (Red horse/2nd seal) This is the Antichrist establishing his one world order. He will take peace from the “entire Earth”, so that he will rule over it all. He will conquer. He will be victorious in his quest. Then there will be famines in many parts of the world, verse 7. (Black horse/3rd seal) It is widely believed that this famine or food shortage is a direct result from the spoils of war. We see also in Revelation 6 that this also causes inflammation. Once again, the first 2 horsemen describe the Antichrist establishing his one world order. Now he has a problem: Food shortage. Inflammation.
What is his response?
Destroy the wide array of world currencies. We no longer need all these forms of currencies. The antichrist has conquered the world with his supporting 10 kings. He is the supreme dictator over the planet. But it is a planet with a rather large population of people who greatly oppose what he has done and is doing. It’s filled with CHRISTIANS! So what is the Antichrist’s response? If you want food, worship me and receive my MARK! This lines up perfectly with both Revelation 6 and Matthew 24. Matthew states it specifically. It speaks of the abomination of desolation that is set up. The antichrist does as 2 Thessalonians says: he exults himself as God in the Temple. In the second reiteration of these events observed in Revelation 13, we see that the False prophet creates a statue and brings it to life. The statue then tells all that they must worship the beast/antichrist if they want to take part in this new world. Only then can they buy and sell. If you DON’T, then you will be killed. It’s just another mouth to feed. Who needs another mouth to feed if that mouth wont comply with the Antichrist’s new World. That person does not deserve life. That person doesn’t belong. And he’s right. Christian’s don’t belong here. We are merely passing through. THIS is the implication behind the black horse. The Antichrist imposes his mark upon his new World. And all who refuse will be killed. Christians will be slaughtered on this prison planet. That is the Pale green horse we see next, aka the 4th seal. Also noted in Matthew 24. Matthew 24:9-10 says,
“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers . And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.”
In comparison to Revelation 6:7-8, which says,
“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.”
Surveys show that professing Christians make up about 1/3 of the world’s population. Let’s be honest, that number is high. We know that many will come into the presence of God saying, “Lord, Lord, haven’t we performed miracles and prophesied in you name?” But God will say, “away from me, I never knew you.” That is the sad reality. Many people who call themselves Christians are not truly God’s people. Many “professing” Christians will see the crazy world around them and fear not being able to live or function in the new world. They will accept the mark of the beast and fall away from the “said” faith they claimed to have. The Apostasy, or the great falling away happens in response to the hard line the Antichrist makes. This hard divide truly separates the men from the boys. No longer will we live in grey of who is and isn’t truly saved. Matthew 24 continues to talk more about this time of tribulation/persecution. It says that
“it will be greater than any time since the world began, and it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time is shortened, not a single person would survive, but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
Imagine a world where you cannot buy or sell anything. On top of that, imagine you had a death warrant on your head. This is the great persecution. This is not God’s wrath against us. This is Satan’s wrath against faithful Christians who refuse to worship the Antichrist as god.
“Well Brad, the pale green horse introduces death by the sword, hunger an beasts of the earth. How can the antichrist cause all that?” My response is this: His hand doesn’t have to. Like I sad, imagine a world where you cannot buy or sell, and everyone wants to kill you; the government wants to kill you, and they have the entire world’s support to do so without having to hide it. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SURVIVE? By running away. By living off the grid as best you can. Are you prepared to do that? Are your other fellow believing friends prepared to do that? Are you physically able to do that? Do you have the outdoor knowledge to do that? MOST people do not. Most people, if they cannot go to Walmart or a fast food restaurant, do not know how to properly feed themselves. They will starve. They will find themselves at the mercy of wild animals and the elements around the world. Or they will simply live in such a non-escapable metropolitan area that they will simply be caught and killed for not taking the mark of the Beast. This sounds awful!
That. Will. Not. Matter.
They will not fear. Though Christians will be persecuted everywhere. This will be, spiritually, the STRONGEST church this world has ever seen. There will be No room for doubt inside the true believer’s heart. Those that have been steadfast until this point are refined by fire. There is no longer doubt. The events prophesied in the Bible are unfolding before their very eyes. And not only are they rock solid in their faith, the Bible says this about them: Matthew 24:14 –
“And the good news about the kingdom will be preached throughout the world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”
This universal church, though persecuted more than ever before, will preach the gospel unto every nation. Now, I don’t know how immediate every unbeliever will be able to get the mark of the beast. But I don’t doubt that every single possible effort by Christians during this time will be taken to preserve as many people with the news of the gospel before they make that decision to take or not to take the mark. People will hear the Gospel during the Great Tribulation/persecution.
And while the Gospel is being preached, 1/4 of the world will be overcome: Christians will be overcome. The next seal in Revelation 6:9 solidifies for us who is being killed. It says,
“when the Lamb broke the 5th seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the Word of God and for being faithful in their testimony.”
They pleaded with the Lord to avenge them and judge the world for what they have done to them. Christians persecuted during this great time of tribulation will plead with the Lord to avenge them! God hears them, but assures and comforts them by saying in verse 11, to wait just a little bit longer for the full number of brothers and sisters. This further supports that even in great persecution, the Gospel is changing lives, being preached fervently to people in secret or in their final few breaths unto persecution. Why would God not immediately come and take his people out of the world right then and there otherwise? Because if there is still even one person who, in God’s foreknowledge, is yet to be saved, God will wait for them. What can man do to us? We fear not what man can do to our flesh because they cannot touch our soul. If it means more earthly persecution as we wait for even one more to come to know the Lord, then so be it! Eternity renders this time of pain and suffering as but a vapor blown away in the wind. Its miniscule and insignificant. But eternity! ETERNITY for just one more person is worth more than even millions of temporary, earthly lives. The FULL number of God’s people will come to know him, who He knew before the world was even created.
So we wait. Those already martyred wait in heaven, and those still on earth wait, while being persecuted. We wait patiently, preaching the gospel anyway, because we never know who is going to receive the message in their heart and complete the full number of God’s children.
And just when it seems that the Antichrist will succeed in purging the world of Christians completely, the 6th seal is opened.
There was a great earthquake. The sun and moon are darkened. The stars fall from heaven. Powers in heaven shaken and rolled back like a scroll. The people of the world run to hide their faces because the Day of the Lord IS come. And God’s remaining people are caught up together to be with the Lord forevermore. – Rev. 6:12-17, Matt. 24:29-31
THAT is what the future holds for Christians here on this earth. THAT is the expectation. THAT is what God promises us.
This is our part in God’s story.
Stay tuned for more. Also read Terms and conditions Part 1 and 2 if you haven’t already. God Bless!