Have you ever puzzled over the Book of Revelation? Is it an enigma to you? From my understanding, it is not written in chronological order, like parts of the Old Testament. For example, the Book of Job would better be placed, chronologically, inside the Book of Genesis.
For one thing, the Book of Revelation was not written by the Apostle John, any more than my hands have written this article. I am the author of this article, not my word processor, just as John is not the real author of the Book of Revelation; Jesus is. John simply wrote down what he was told to by Jesus. It is called the Revelation of Jesus Christ, not the Revelation of the Apostle John.
What are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse anyway? Is there any place that Jesus speaks of these outside of the Book of Revelation? Jesus’ Olivet Prophecy in Matthew 24 is actually in the same order that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is revealed in Revelation. Don’t take my word for it. I am simply a human being with finite knowledge. Why don’t we instead, let Jesus show us what these Four Horsemen mean and in the order that they come in? If Jesus tells us, we know it is right. He does tell us in both the Book of Revelation, Chapter Six and in the Gospel of Matthew in Chapter 24. And the Book of Revelation speaks of the horses as beasts.
The White Horse
Revelation Chapter 6 and Matthew 24 are parallels of the Four Horsemen and each one represents what is to come.
In verse two of Revelation 6, we read, “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. “ In Matthew 24:4-6 Jesus warns us that many false prophets will come and proclaim to be Jesus, as He says, “…Take heed that no man deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am Christ'; and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not troubled; for all of these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Jesus warns us that many false prophets will come and proclaim to be Jesus. That has been happening for many years now. So the white horse represents false messiahs and false Christs. There have never been more false shepherds than there are today. Some today claim that they are modern day Apostles and even call themselves by this title. Others proclaim they are prophets. A few on the extreme side even say that they are Jesus Christ. So the white horse represents false ministers proclaiming false gospels. These abound on television.
The Red Horse
In Revelation 6:3-4, Jesus mentions the Red Horse: “When the Lamb [Jesus Christ] opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a huge sword.” Matthew 24’s parallel is in verse six and into verse seven as Jesus says, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:” In the 20th century, wars were more widespread than ever before in the history of mankind, and these wars are only going to increase as we approach the return of Christ. But as Jesus said, “…the end is not yet“, meaning it will get worse.
The Black Horse
Famine usually follows periods of wars. In Revelation 6:5-6, “And I beheld, and lo, a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, a measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see that you do not hurt the oil and wine.” A penny then bought considerably more than today. The implication is that there will be widespread food shortages and that the price of food will increase exponentially. In Matthew 24:7, the parallel is “…and there will be famines.” Famines include food shortages which often occur after wars and food shortages will make food very expensive. The reference to the pair of balances held by the rider of the black horse indicates that the rider has control over the scales and, apparently, the price of foods. Measures of wheat and barely cost more than most people can afford at this time.
The Pale Horse
After widespread famine, death will naturally follow. Revelation 6:7-8 reads, “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth to kill with sward, and with hunger and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” The Greek word for pale is the same as “ashen“, “pale green“ or “yellowish green“, which is indicative of the sickly pallor of a corpse. The word “hell” in Revelation Chapter Six and verse eight actually means Hades or better translated as grave. The parallel in Matthew 24 is the second part of verse seven which followed the wars, or the black horse, talks of “pestilences.” Pestilences are usually a fatal epidemic disease, particularly the bubonic plague.
Interestingly, right after the Horsemen are mentioned, Jesus says that these are “All the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you will be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another (Matt. 24:8-10). Hauntingly close to these verses are those verses in Revelation that come directly after the Horsemen are mentioned as it says, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were killed for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: (Rev. 6:9).”
Before the Great Tribulation begins is the time to warn people to repent. The time to tell people about Christ is before these things happen; that is today, right now, while there is still time. The Good News is that Jesus has promised that those who come to him now will be eternally secure, saying “For all that the Father gives me will come to me, and him that comes to me I will in no way cast out (John 6:37).” Even more reassuring is Jesus saying to those who come to Him today, “And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither will anyone pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand (John 10:28-29).” Then you won’t have to worry about the Four Horsemen, except maybe to warn your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.