KEY TEXT: Revelation 6:1-8 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 men 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.
KEY THOT: The four horses of the Apocalypse are parallel to Jesus' references to the four birth pains in Matthew 24:1-8. If Jesus is the only one who can open the seals, then we should take his interpretation more seriously than any other Bible scholars. Jesus mentioned four specific birth pains that must occur before the tribulation (v.9), which in Revelation 6 is the fifth seal (Rev. 5:9): false Christs, wars, famines, earthquakes. These four signs would fit the four horses of the Apocalyse: white horse (false Christs), red horse (wars), black horse (famines) and pale horse (earthquakes and resulting death). While most bible interpreters have no problem associating the black, red and pale horses to negative events, some think the "white horse" must refer to Christ or at least to his Church going about "conquering and to conquer". But when we align these four horses with Jesus' own first four signs, we have to conclude this "white" horse is also a negative event: religious deception by false Christs. False Christs are usually dressed in white to look like Christ.
So we may conclude that the first four seals correspond to the four birth pains that Jesus said must happen before the tribulation occurs:
- False Christs/White Horse (Mt 25:5): "For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray." There will be a world-wide religious deception that will lead many people on earth astray. A one-world religion associated with the Anti-Christ would arise to unite the nations before Christ's return. And the current Pope Francis is actively working to unite all world religions under one head, in the name of a borderless New World Order.
- Wars/Red Horse (Mt 25:6): "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet." Revelation describes this red horse with a rider "permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another, and he was given a great sword" (Rev. 6:4). As the world enters the new year 2018, it stands on the edge of a possible nuclear war, maybe triggered by North Korea or even by Arab nations' invasion of Israel over Jerusalem. As the majority of the nations of the world have voted against Israel's claim of Jerusalem as her capital, the stage is now set for a possible global war over the status of Jerusalem: "On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it" (Zechariah 12:3).
- Famines/Black Horse (Mt 25:7): "there will be famines". In Revelation 6:5-6 description of this black horse, it is said that the 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!'" This is a picture of famine and economic scarcity when a day's wage (denarius) could only buy three-quarts (roughly 12 cups) of barley.
- Death/Pale Horse (Mt 25:7): "earthquakes in various places." Revelation 6:8 calls the rider of this horse "Death": "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." This may be a description of the aftermath of a major earthquake resulting in death by famine, diseases, even wild animals and the collapse of law and order.
Let's stay alert and focused on God's Word. Let's not be lazy in studying the Bible. Deception will happen to believers who are not grounded in the Scriptures. The only protection against deception is to know the truth as contained in the Bible.
Abba-Father, the coming days are going to bring upon the earth trials and tribulations never seen before. May You grant us the grace to stay alert and watchful so we may be ready for Your Coming. Amen.