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Who Are The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse?

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Who are the Four Horsemen? The Bible provides the answer.

In Revelation Chapter 6 the Apostle John witnesses of Jesus Christ opening a 7-sealed scroll. The first four seals, when broken, each unleash a rider on a colored horse, sent to Earth for a specific purpose. Known popularly as ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’, there has been much debate over who or what these horsemen are. This article will show, by letting the Bible define itself, that these horsemen are spiritual forces that have been on the Earth since the first day of the Church age until the Rapture of the Church and the start of the Great Tribulation.
The Opening of The Seals

The Seven Seals of the Book Jesus Christ opens run through the entire history of the Church.

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.” – Revelation 6:1.

To fully understand the context of the sealed scroll being opened, we have to go back to Revelation chapter 5, where the book is first given. The Apostle John was caught up to Heaven and given access to see God’s Heavenly throne room. A detailed description of this room is given in Chapter 4. John is standing before God Almighty. And in Chapter 5, we see the seven-sealed book:

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. –Revelation 5:1-7.

In this passage, the 7 sealed book is held by The Lord but no one is found who is worthy of to open. Verse 3 states that no one worthy was found “in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the Earth.” Now it is Jesus Christ who of course is worthy to open the book. So why does verse 3 say this? It is because John is seeing this play out right before the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. John is seeing what for him, would be going into the past. This is critical to understand. Jesus Christ, in Revelation 1, instructs John to: “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter..” This is a reference to the past, present and future. So going back to the throne room, John sees Jesus enter Heaven after His resurrection, when He conquered death and the grave and won salvation for all who believe in Him.

If this was decades after the Resurrection and ascension of Christ to Heaven, why would the angel say “no man” could be found anywhere worthy to open the Book? Jesus’ victory and atonement on the cross made the only man in the universe worthy to open it. And John is there to witness the scene in Heaven at the moment Jesus returns to Heaven, His earthly mission completed. The angel who is speaking to John confirms this saying: “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” There can be no question that this is referring to Jesus. And His victory earned Him the role of receiving the Divine book.

It is this author’s contention that this seven sealed book is the same book the prophet Daniel is told to seal until the time of the end in Daniel 12.  At two points an angels instructs Daniel to:

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. …And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. – Daniel 12:9-13.

Now that we have the time frame and context established, the seals themselves can be examined.

The Horsemen – Spiritual Forces For God

The Book of Zechariah provides the Biblical explanation of the spirit -realm horses.

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 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 6:1-2.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. – 2 Peter 1:20.

The Bible instructs us to interpret Scripture by using other Scripture. 1 Corinthians 2 states: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”  This is critical – the Holy Spirit teaches us that we are to compare Scripture (which is spiritual) with Scripture. So in order to divide a passage that is prophetic, there should be some confirming Scripture elsewhere in the Bible. In the case of the colored horses and their riders, we find that confirmation in Zechariah Chapter 6.

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the LORD of all the earth. – Zechariah 6:1-5.

Throughout the book of Zechariah, the prophet encounters beings and creatures from the spirit realm. In Chapter 6, he is converses an angel. And from between two “mountains of brass” come forth a group of chariots with horses. As is often the case when a prophet encounters an angelic being or sight that is confusing, The Lord, in His mercy, has an angel to provide the explanation for us. The chariots and their horses are spirits that stand before God. They are spirit realm beings manifesting as a chariot and horses when they come to Earth. And their appearance happens to correspond to the colors of the horses we see in the first four seals of Revelation. (B&E: the color “grisled and bay”, can mean grayish, which is similar to “pale” in Revelation. Pale does not mean “white”, it means grayish or sickly looking. In the Septuagint, the fourth horse in Zechariah is called “ash-colored.”)

In Zechariah Chapter 1, the prophet sees colored horses and inquires as to who they are and receives similar confirmation:

I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the Lord that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. – Zechariah 1:8-11.

The word consistency of the King James Bible is never a coincidence. These four colored horses of Zechariah 6 are the same type of beings released at the first four seals of Revelation 6 otherwise known as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This is how Bible prophecy is to be interpreted, by comparing Scripture with Scripture. In no other place in the Bible do we find spirit-realm horses. Thus it is clear that these are spirit realm beings who carry out certain tasks on earth for The Lord.
Is The Rider On The White Horse in Revelation 6 The Antichrist?

Is the first rider on the White Horse the Antichrist?

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 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 6:1-2.

With Old Testament confirmation of who or what these beings are, answering this question becomes quite simple. Many rapture models, including the pre-tribulation or pre-trib model, and the pre-wrath model, identify the rider of the white horse who is released at the first seal as the Antichrist. The common reasons are that he has a bow with no arrow (indicating that he comes in peace) and that he rides a white horse and sent to conquer. This interpretation fails for several reasons:

The Bible never says this is the Antichrist. At no place in Scripture is this ever stated or even alluded to. The Antichrist is described in Revelation 13 as a man. In Zechariah 6 and 1 we are told that the horses are spirit realm beings.

The Antichrist comes from the bottomless pit.  In Revelation we are told twice that the Beast Spirit which will indwell the Antichrist comes from the bottomless pit, also known as “the deep” or “the abyss” in Scripture. Revelation 11 gives this detail in relation to the murder of the two witnesses:

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth… And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. – Revelation 11:3,7.

Revelation 17 provides the second confirmation:

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. – Revelation 17:8.

The Antichrist, going just by Scripture, is never in Heaven. It is clear, that at present, he, or at least his spirit, resides in the bottomless pit. Therefore an interpretation that has him coming to Earth from Heaven, contradicts Scripture. Thus there very clear, scriptural reason to reject that “1st rider is Antichrist” interpretation.
Identifying The First Horseman

Jesus’ prophecies in Matthew 24 lines up with the seals of Revelation 6.

Matthew 24 is a profoundly detailed series of prophecies given by Jesus Christ directly to His disciples. It is a parallel passage to Revelation 6.  In it, The Lord Jesus describes the first four horsemen:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. – Matthew 24:3-8.

In the same order as listed in Revelation chapter, 6, Jesus describes each of the first four seals. And the first seal’s horseman is a spirit of False Christs and religious deception. Jesus confirms the same in Mark 13 and Luke 21, which also contained end-times prophecies:

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.Mark 13:6-7.
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. – Luke 21:8-9.

In all 3 passages, Jesus identifies the first and second riders in their appropriate order and the identity of the first horsemen is clear: a group of “many” false Christ figures who will deceive many people in the world (the fact that there are many of these figures is yet another reason why interpreting the Rider of the White horse as the Antichrist, an individual man, fails). What is also emphasized is that when this seal’s horseman is released onto the world, it is not the end times. The end times have not started at this point. This also harmonizes with what we see in Revelation 5 and 6, since John  sees Jesus take the book right after His resurrection and Ascension. The book is opened right after Jesus took the throne, almost 2000 years ago.

Thus the first horse is a spirit of false religion led by leaders who claim to be Christ or come in Christ’s name, deceiving their followers. And certainly, since the first centuries, many false Christ figures and systems have continually raised up in society, most notably, the long line of popes of the Catholic Church. These men use the title “vicar of Christ” which means:

“a title of the pope implying his supreme and universal primacy, both of honor and of jurisdiction, over the Church of Christ.” — The Original Catholic Encyclopedia, 1918. (source).

Roman Catholicism, a religion fraught with many unbiblical practices, has been a chief promoter for over 1,000 years of the worship of a line of men who claim the title of “substitute Christs” in charge of the entire church on Earth. And this is just one example of the false Christs prophesied by Jesus, among many.

The Apostle John, the longest living of all the Twelve Disciples, wrote of this same spirit operating at the time of his epistle:

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.  And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. – 1 John 2:18-26.

Although written in the first century, the Apostle John already identified the spirit of false Christianity that was operating in the church. This “tribulation” to be experienced by the Church was so widespread, John called the early false deceivers “antichrists” – foreshadows of the final Antichrist of the Great Tribulation. This early precursor to the Great Tribulation is referred to as “the last time”, matching with the angel who told Daniel the sealed book would be opened at the time of the end.  Thus he exhorts the reader to hold onto the Biblical Gospel and not be seduced by this spiritual infiltration.

 
So in short, by comparing Scripture, the First Horseman can properly be identified as a spirit bringing false Christ figures and massive spiritual deception into the world. This spiritual deception is a “tribulation” that the Church has and will continue to endure until the Rapture. Declaring the first rider on the white horse the Antichrist, while convenient for making an end-times timeline (since it seems logical the release of the Antichrist would kick off the end times events) is not accurate and in fact a private interpretation, because it is not confirmed anywhere else in Scripture.

The Second Horseman

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.- Revelation 6:3-4.

As we have seen already from our comparison with Jesus’ own prophecies of the end times in Matthew 24, the second horseman is given power to “take peace from Earth, and that they should kill one another..” In describing this seal, Jesus said: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:6-7).

The Second Horsemen is given the power to remove peace from the Earth. Certainly, since the first century, the world has seen endless warfare, seeing its peak with the devastation and unprecedented bloodshed of the 20th and 21st centuries.

While this is alarming, Scripture warns that this is not the start of the end times, but merely the prelude leading up to the Day of The Lord: “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.Luke 21:8-9.  Thus the Second Horseman is a spirit of warfare that plagues the Earth with bloodshed right up until the end times.

The Third Horseman

The Third Seal Horse brings famine to a major portion of the world.

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. 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 thou hurt not the oil and the wine. – Revelation 6:5-6.

The Third Horseman brings famine and starvation to the world. The “measure of wheat” was the equivalent of the average amount of bread a working man would eat in a day, while a penny, or denarius, was the average pay for a day’s wages. So a working man could afford just enough bread for one person, with nothing to add to it, rendering him unable to feed his family.
Jesus described this judgment succinctly:

“..and there shall be famines”  (Matthew 24:6).

“and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.Mark 13:8.

Famine has certainly stricken much of the Earth today, as many impoverished people all over the world struggle to find food to survive. This tribulation has been experienced for centuries and certainly will not slow down any time soon, unfortunately.

The Fourth Horseman

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 unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. – Revelation 6:7-8.

The pale horse and its rider bring death in various forms to a “fourth part” of the Earth. This distinction is important –as many end times commentaries interpret this rider bringing death and destruction to the entire planet. Rather than killing a set amount of people, this spirit has regional authority over a specific section of the planet to inflict death through violence, starvation and disease.  Jesus described this rider as “pestilences.” Plagues such as smallpox, have taken the lives of millions since the centuries before Christ on Earth. Typhus, the Black Plague and in more modern times, malaria and AIDS have killed hundreds of millions of people. In Africa, approximately 25 million people are HIV positive, with certain nations (for example, Liberia and Swaziland) having a staggering 25% of their population infected. At the same time regional wars and ethnic cleansing campaigns like those carried in Rwanda have killed millions.  Certainly a large portion of the planet is suffering under the strain and devastation of this judgment.

The Four Horsemen Who Precede The Apocalypse

“..these are the beginnings of sorrows.” – Mark 13:8.

While the judgments unleashed by these four spirits from Heaven sound like an end-times scenario, we must heed the words of Scripture over any pre-existing notions or private interpretations. Jesus, in describing the first four seals of Revelation, goes out of His way to remind believers that these judgments are not the end times. These are tribulations that lead up to the real Great Tribulation- the Day of The Lord, that commences at the opening of the 6th seal of Revelation Chapter 6.

 
These judgments are tribulations that will be experienced through the entire church age. But The Lord Jesus, the true Head of the Church, assures believers, that these events should serve as signs that end times are approaching. And certainly, the apostasy in the church, pseudo-Christian movement and rampant deception of heresy has run through all of the world. Wars around the world are at an all-time high. Diseases and famines have also reached unprecedented numbers. All pointing to the coming judgment of God on the Earth in the end times. But born again Christians, who believe the Gospel, can be comforted, knowing that before the wrath of God comes, they will be taken out of this world in the Rapture of the saints at the opening of the 6th Seal of Revelation (we detail this in our article “The Red Moon Rapture: Biblical Timing of the Rapture). Jesus will come for His Church, to keep us in Heaven as the world is judged and confirmed it saying: “..And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28).
If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ (or are not sure if you are going to Heaven), do not waste time. 2,000 years ago, Jesus accurately prophesied the signs that would dominate society. And they are leading to much greater judgment. Make sure you are right with God and have received forgiveness for your sins, which only comes through faith in Jesus Christ. And then you can be certain, that you will be saved from the wrath to come:

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” – Luke 21:36.



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    • Robbie

      I put these two examples of the horse spirits of the heavens together. This proves that both stories are the same spirits. I am not adding to Revelation; I am inserting a revelation into Zechariah. Some need to see what the bible actually states.
      Zechariah 1: 8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. 9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will show you what these be. 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro through the earth.
      Revelation 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals (first seal), and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 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 (to the north) conquering, and to conquer. Revelation 6:3 And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red (bay): and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given to him a great sword.
      Revelation 6:5 And when He (the Lamb) had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and look a black horse (in the north); and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 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 you hurt not the oil and the wine.
      Revelation 6:7 And when He (the Lamb) had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale (green grisled) horse (Islamic Jihad???): and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him (Could this mean that the pale horse causes people to die or sin by worshiping something other than Christ?). And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the (southern) earth.
      Zechariah 6:5 And the angel answered and said to me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. 7 And the bay (a bay horse has a reddish brown body color with a black mane) went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence (away from here), walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth (to do as they were ordered).

    • Pix

      “…Jesus enter Heaven after His resurrection, when He conquered death and the grave and won salvation for all who believe in Him.”

      Just substitute Jesus for Horus and at the end ‘and won salvation for everyone in the underworld’. And you have a carbon copy of the Egyptian book of the dead. Less the Christian self serving elitism crap.

      :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    • Uncle Nobby

      Oh dear Oh dear, more rabid dribbling from a Bibletard, Jeezus said this, and god said that, dribble dribble drool drool. We don’t even know how the Egyptians built the pyramids, or raised the huge obelisks, but they sure knew way more than we do now, so pay attention all ye dribblers out there, Isis, Osiris, Horus, Mithras, Nimrod, Semiramis, and on and on, ALL predate your christian scribblings. So dribble and drool on bibletards.

    • Pix

      The book of Revelation is Greek in origin, it is written in fluent Greek, not by John with his pigeon Aramaic.

      There are four such horses in Greek mythology owned by Helios, also known as Hyperion. He rides around the sky in his chariot every day. Helios has 4 horses named Acos, Pyrois, Aethon, and Phlegon. His roman name is Sol.

      I’ll give you an example of one you can look up the rest if you’re interested. “Aethon
      The ancient Greek word aithôn means “burning”, “blazing” or “shining.” Less strictly, it can denote the colour red-brown, or “tawny.” [1] It is an epithet sometimes applied to animals such as horses at Hom. Il. 2.839 ; oxen at Od.18.372; and an eagle at Il. 15.690 (cf. Hyginus’ calling the eagle that tormented Prometheus an aethonem aquilam at Fabulae 31.5.)[2]
      In Greek and Roman mythology there are a number of characters known as Aethon. Most are horses, variously belonging to:
      Helios (Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.153)
      Ares (Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica 8.239)
      Hector (Homer, Iliad 8.184)
      Pallas (Vergil, Aeneid 11.89)
      The name is twice applied to humans. In Odyssey 19.183, it is the pseudonym a disguised Odysseus assumes during his interview with Penelope upon his return to Ithaca. According to fr. 43a.5 of Hesiod’s Catalogue of Women, Erysichthon was also known as Aethon due to the “burning” hunger (aithôn limos) he was made to endure by Demeter (cf. Callimachus’ Hymn to Demeter 6.65ff.)[3]

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