The Four Horsemen.

If there could be a sentence between chapter 5 and 6 it would be this: How will all those 5 wonderful chapters of victory and the heavenly throne room come into fulfilment?

The answer is here in chapter 6 and onwards. It is the darkness having to come to the surface. It is dealing with the pain of the soul of the world. This is the revelation of Jesus Christ but it is also the revealing of the hurt in the darkest recesses of this earth.

Let’s see what happens when the Lamb opens the seals.

“I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. When the Lamb 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 people kill each other. To him was given a large sword. When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two poundsof wheat for a day’s wages,and six poundsof barley for a day’s wages,and do not damage the oil and the wine!” When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6 v 1-8)

This is not a literal timeline, either in order of the horses or actually even what comes next in terms of the trumpets and bowls. We are going to have several chapters of difficult gloomy reading before evil is finally overcome in chapter 20 but we are seeing it already in our lifetime. It may happen in the future, it has happened in our past, in the time of John’s generation and it is happening in our present. But it will come to an end. There will be an end as we will see.

We recognise each of these horsemen.

So here comes the white horse, a conqueror ‘bent on’ defeating others. With a crown speaking of victory (a small v for the Lamb is the Victorious One) this horseman represents those deceivers who claim other nations are indeed their own and they take by force.

Here comes the red horse with its superficial appearance of peace but there was no peace. He played with peace, talked of peace but removed peace.

The black horse then comes forward representing the economic problems where prices for ordinary commodities, wheat and barley, shoot up in price and the rich (who have the oil and wine) simply get richer.

Finally, the pale horse with its destructive death to many through famine, pandemic and war. The white, the red, the black and the pale have all been riding through the world in every generation.

These riders on the horses are not coming in our future towards the end of the world. They are here now. They were here yesterday.

You can see them in Jesus’ prophecy of Matthew 24: ““Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (4-8)

The White horse of deception; the red horse of war; the black horse of death and the pale horse of pandemic; they are there in the prophecy.

Whether you look at the Roman Emperors leading up to and including John’s generation or perhaps in the generations after this first century persecuted Church, you will find pain, suffering, evil, sword, famines, death, you just run out of words, but the horses are there.

It is really easy to think that these 4 horses are in the future. But when one of the horses have rode right over your life, shortened it, terrorised it and brought so much pain to you then it is a further insult for some next generation to declare that “it wasn’t a horse at all, the dreaded horse is to come.”  

Just read the history of our last century. Read the news today. Look around have a think. Pray. You will like John see the 4 horses. They are riding rampant across this earth. Why? The pain of the soul of this world is coming into view. The Lamb is needed. The Lamb will come. But before we get there we need to see more, we need to understand more.

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