Recent Posts
Lowell Brueckner

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Revelation 6:1-8


The Four Horsemen

1. 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!”
2. 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.
3. When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”
4. And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.
5. 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.
6. 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 wind!”
7. When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”
8. 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.

On the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked Jesus, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Mt.24:3). The geography is significant, because when Jesus returns to earth, according to Zechariah, He will land on the Mount of Olives, from which He ascended into heaven (Zech.14:4; Ac.1:11-12). Jesus proceeded to give them the signs and they correlate to the seals, which the Lamb opens here, one by one. Remember John is seeing future events that will take place. Jesus knew what is written on this scroll, which is filled on both sides. He is worthy and He will open the seals and He will be in charge of the last-day events that this scroll describes. The Revelation prophecies will now begin.

Accompanying the Lamb are the four living creatures, the cherubim (or possibly seraphim) that surround the throne. We learn of cherubim first of all in the third chapter of the Bible. They guard the way to the Tree of Life that fallen man may not approach (Ge.3:24). In the book of Exodus, they are depicted on the propitiatory above the Ark of the Covenant. There are two, which are made of gold (Ex.25:18). Then Ezekiel gives us the most detailed description of the four, which accompany the throne of God throughout his book (Ez.1:3, 2:2, 3:12-15, 23, 8:4, 9:3, chapter 10, 11:21-24, 43:2-5). 

It seems obvious to me that the living creatures have something to do with principles in the government of God that are carried out in all His works. For example, one can see them in the formation of the four Gospels, by their total concept of all that is the history of Christ on earth.  I think the living creatures are involved in this. In Matthew, He is the King of Israel, in Mark, the Servant, in Luke, the Son of Man, and in John, the Son of God.  

The living creatures are also involved with the four horsemen in the first four seals. Once again, the purpose is to give us the complete concept of what is taking place on earth. The Lamb is in charge of opening the pageants, which fulfill the prophecies of earth’s latter days. As He opens the first four seals, one by one the four living creatures summon four riders with a voice like thunder to come (v.1 Come and see is not in the original, only come, and the call is not to John and to us, but to the riders). The seven seals are divided into two groups of four and three. They depict the consequences of man-made influence on the earth, effecting ¼ of earth’s population.

The prophet Daniel describes 70 weeks of years, 70 x 7, making a total of 490 years, concerning his people, the Jews.  All of chapters 6 through chapter 19 of the book of Revelation have to do with that, which is often called the Tribulation period (Dn.9:24-27). I prefer to call it, simply, Daniel’s 70th Week, which is the very last seven years of the time period. However I think, these situations, which are depicted in this chapter, are well under way before Daniel’s 70th Week begins. Because of the broadness of their occurrences and their effects, it seems impossible to crowd these events into only seven years. I will explain this claim, as we go through the seals of the four horsemen, because it is not the common interpretation.

The rider on the white horse

The first living creature has a face like a regal lion and we see his influence in the Gospel of Matthew, representing Jesus as the King of Israel. As the Lamb breaks the seal, this living creature calls out a horseman on a white horse. A good friend, from whom I learned much in my prophetic study, used to say: “When I run across a book on Revelation, the first thing I turn to is the writer’s interpretation of the white horseman. If he describes him as Christ, I close the book, without bothering to read more.” To think of this rider as a Champion with a positive influence is incongruous with the rest of these horsemen. They are all causing chaos and disaster. It is absolutely necessary to see that it is the first horseman, who is at the head of all the following damage. 

These horsemen are not individuals, but forces. This horseman is a symbol of world deception. It is a masterful, deceiving force, the spirit of antichrist, which terminates in the person of Antichrist himself. Therefore he is on a white horse. The apostle Paul uncovered “false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves… Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Co.11:13-15). Then, it is certainly no surprise that this champion deceiver should ride in on a white horse and his deeds will bring on the disasters that follow.

He has a bow, but there is no mention of arrows. Warren Wiersbe states that the Lord's weapon is not a bow, but “the Lord’s weapon is a sword. The word for crown here is stephanos, “the victor’s crown”. The crown that Jesus wears is diadema, “the kingly crown”. Antichrist could never wear the diadem”, but is crowned by popular support.  He is a conqueror, but he does not conquer with weapons, only by bloodless delusion. Be careful for deception in the last days, because, as we see in Matthew 24, it runs rampant.

Let’s go back now to Matthew 24 to get more insight from Jesus concerning this rider.  As He began to describe the end of the age, He spoke first of deception: “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” He was actually describing the first sign… deception. Deception is the seed, from which all evil sprouts. Notice verse 8: “All these are but the beginning of the birth pains”, and (I speculate perhaps) I think the birth pains begin at least 150 years before the birth of the Tribulation period.

Has history ever seen anything like the 20th and the 21st Centuries? After thousands of years of prior history, in which men worked, farmed, and traveled by foot or with animals, suddenly the automobile was invented, followed by the airplane, and then by all the modern means of communication that we know so well today. The “progress” is unbelievable and we can’t keep up with it.

I took this photo in the Titanic museum in Belfast.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, something, which I believe is very significant, took place. A ship was built in Northern Ireland called the Titanic. The claims behind this construction were inordinately arrogant. You have heard this one, I suppose: “Even God can’t sink this ship!” There were others. But God did sink that ship and I believe that incident was indicative of the century ahead, featuring man’s marvelous inventions and his pride and self-sufficiency.

Two monstrous deceptions, cemented in humanism, were conceived around the middle of the 19th Century. In 1859, Charles Darwin wrote On the Origen of Species and this work developed into a theory, which is now grasped around the world and taught in the overwhelming majority of schools. It is, of course, the Theory of Evolution, which is a satanic attempt to do away with creation, and, more importantly, the Creator.

Modern psychology, as an independent study, began about a decade later, around 1870, and became a sophisticated “science”, through Sigmund Freud, in treating human maladies of the mind. The literal meaning of the word itself goes a long way in manifesting its hidden evil. It is psyche, meaning soul, and logia, meaning study, therefore, the science of the soul. It is man’s attempt to deal with his soul independently of God and the Bible. It does not follow the usual pattern of science at all, but dabbles with unproven theories concerning human behavior. From the psychological world came a teaching, which is prominent in our day and has invaded the church. It is self-love, branches of which are positive self-image and self-esteem. It has done incalculable damage to man’s spirit, concentrating on feeding the ego. I believe the first seal is already open!

The rider on the red horse

The second living creature has a face like an ox and he calls forth the second horseman, when the Lamb opens the seal. The ox’s life purpose is to serve in the field, but biblically, his most significant service is to be offered in sacrifice.  The facial features of an ox symbolize the Gospel of Mark. Mark’s gospel began with the ministry of Christ, ignoring totally his genealogy, Mary and Joseph, His birth and early life. It begins with his baptism and temptation in the wilderness, but after only 13 verses in the first chapter, it focuses on His ministry. It shows Christ’s servanthood, healing the sick, freeing the captive, and teaching the multitudes. It terminates with His ultimate service, as our substitute on a bloody cross.  The first horseman’s deception is without blood, but the ultimate fruit of his deception takes peace away from the world. This horse is blood-red and it symbolizes war.

Returning to Matthew 24, the second sign of the end time that Jesus gives is war. Verse 6 and 7: “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. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…” Because He says that the end is not yet, I take it to mean that Daniel´s 70th Week has not yet begun. Verse 6 sounds like a multiplication of wars and fearful threats of war, but verse 7 describes a different kind of warfare. Here it seems that Jesus speaks of conflicts that will involve one nation after another.

There have always been wars, since fallen man began to reign on the earth. However, we turn again to the beginning of the 20th Century to view a phenomenon that had never happened before in the history of mankind. It began on June 27, 1914, and we call it World War I, because it was the first of its kind. Then in September 1939, another war broke out and nation after nation allied with one side or another. This was, of course, World War II, only the second of its kind that had ever occurred. I believe that the second seal is already open!

The rider on the black horse

The third seal is opened and the living creature, whose face is like a man, summons the third horseman and he is on a black horse. This living creature focuses on mankind, his welfare or his misfortune. Luke’s Gospel depicted the manhood of Jesus Christ. His genealogy of the Lord was from Mary’s side, whereas Matthew’s genealogy was from Joseph side, as the legal guardian of Jesus. Joseph was from the line of Israel and Judah’s kings. On his wife and father-in-law’s side, the genealogy lost its blue blood after David, and represented a much more common people.

Luke, a physician, was the only non-Jewish writer in the New Testament. Therefore, he looks more to things that a non-Jew would notice, outside the Jewish circle, and how those things had an effect on the development of the gospel. For example, he mentions Caesar Augustus and the Roman governor of Syria, whose full name was Publius Sulpicius Quirinus, as well as Pilate, the Roman governor in Jerusalem. Luke reports the benefits for mankind through the gospel, from the  time of the birth of Jesus. He gives the words of the angel, announcing His birth: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people… peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Lk.2:10, 14). He even writes one account of the boyhood of Jesus. We could mention other things, but perhaps the reader will see that Lucas focused especially on things of human interest.  

In the dark and dangerous times of the last days, this same living creature is involved with the human suffering that will take place. The result of deep and dastardly deception was war, and a product of war was fear, calamity and famine. The rider is on a black horse and he is the bearer of bad news. He carries a scale and that is a symbol of scarcity. A small measure of wheat is being carefully weighed and sold for a day’s wages. Barley is of less value, however it also is demanding a high price, requiring a full day of work just to put a little food on the table. A voice in heaven informs us of desperate days of famine.

On the other hand, the affluent are enjoying oil and wine! It is the story of feast and famine, a contrast between poverty and plenty. It is the story of the world in our day. While the western world is enjoying great prosperity, there are countries that are experiencing horrible famines. We all know about having plenty, but do you know that the worst famines in history took place in the 20th century? In India and Africa there continues to be abject poverty.  

The Lamb who will open the seal, told his disciples also about this twenty centuries ago in the same order that we are observing in Revelation. “There will be famines and earthquakes in various places” (Mt.24:7). Other calamities will surely occur at this time, such as plagues, pestilence and diseases that have not been known before. At the same time as man-induced suffering occurs, there will also be natural disasters, such as earthquakes. Have you noticed that the weathermen are reporting continually the worst disasters that have taken place in the last 50 years, 100 years, or even longer? We hear them speak consistently of the worst earthquakes, the most tornados, the most damaging hurricanes, snowstorms, fires and floods. I still well remember the Sumatra, Indonesia tsunami of 2004 that took place in the middle of tourist season, therefore effecting people in countries all over the world. I heard one newsman say, “This is the worst world-wide disaster since the time of Noah!” I have been watching documentaries on dangerous reptiles, animals, and insects and I am astounded at the number of fatalities caused by them. I believe that the third seal is open!

The rider on the pale horse

Following this, the Lamb opens the fourth seal and the fourth living creature with a face like an eagle, calls out the fourth and last horseman. This one is riding a pale horse. One seal leads to another and just as they are opened in sequence, the occurrences take place sequentially. Each one is the result of the former.  This horse and rider represent death… the death that has occurred as the result of the wars, the famines and natural disasters. Always bear in mind that the one thing that set the other three in motion was world-wide deception. There is nothing more dangerous than deception.

There is surely a fate that is worse than death. Another plague of our times is that of suicide, which is always brought on by deception. If people knew what lies on the other side of the grave, they would never give in to suicidal tendencies. No present suffering, heartache, depression, or any other form of hopelessness can be compared to Hades, which simply means hell. One moment in hell is worse than years of suffering on earth. The curse of curses, hell follows closely behind death for those, who die without Christ. As Christians, we need to be wide awake to the reality of hell, in order to faithfully warn those, who slumber through this life on earth.

Please notice the percentage here, because we will learn of other percentages, concerning the series of trumpets and the bowls of wrath. The seals have mostly to do with disaster that is self-inflicted by mankind. The trumpets will be even more fatal, because they will be caused by demonic forces, and the final series will be that of God pouring out His wrath upon the earth.

The seals will bring about the death of a quarter of earth’s inhabitants. If there could be any statistics that could possibly show the direct causes of death inflicted by humans, bringing disaster upon themselves, when all is said and done, I will guarantee that it would show that it has wiped out 25% of the earth’s population. Add in the casualties of war, automobile accidents, and everything else that we have learned from Revelation and Matthew.

No one in the world can make these calculations, but God in heaven is keeping score and His word says that it will effect 25% of the world’s population. I believe these results have already been set in motion and the rider on the pale horse canters among us. These tragedies and statistics will carry into Daniel’s 70th Week, but I believe that the fourth seal has already been opened!


Post a Comment