Comparing the Four Horses and their Riders
Revelation 6:1-8
For principles of interpretation, please click the ball to read the previous page.
.1 ¶ 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.
 The text more accurately reads, ". . . I heard one of the four living ones saying in a voice like thunder. . . ."
  Lamb opened See re0501ex.
  Thunder It accentuates the beginning of the opening of the seals like the loud voice of the angel in re1407 who announces the preadvent the judgment. We may see the Lamb's breaking of the seals as that same judgment. Also see on re1402.
Remember to read the context of verses linked to.

Horse silhouettes © Corel

.2  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.

  White A symbol of purity re0714, is0118. Christ rides the white horse symbolizing His victory on the cross which initiated the pure church. Again at the end, we see Him on the white horse slaying the end-time wicked re1911. For more see note-1 below.
  Horse See note-2 below.
  Bow A symbol of strength. Christ, through His Spirit-powered early church went forth to reach the world with the good news mt2818. Consider Joseph as a type (symbol) of Christ ge4922. Joseph's brothers wanted to kill him. He responded in love and provided physical salvation from the famine. Jesus was slain in the same pattern, to save His enemies zc1306 – us who have caused His wounds is5305. The Genesis text linked to clarifies the meaning of the bow.
  Crown The Greek word is stephanos, a garland of victory. He had worn the crown of thorns and was awarded the crown of glory jn1901, ps02407, re1912.
  Conquering In the promise to Laodicea, He had been an overcomer and sat down with His Father on the Father's throne re0321. Also ac0108, 1jo0503.
  And to conquer The battle with the forces of evil will finally end at the end of the thousand years when sin and sinners are no more re2009b.

.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: 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.

.Red The Greek word is purrhos meaning "fiery red." This is not the ordinary word for red. It is elsewhere seen only as the color of the dragon re1203, re1207. The conflict in the drama is between Christ and Satan; and between the righteous of the white horse and the wicked of the fiery red one. See note 1 for verse 3.
  Take peace from the earth The peace with God which Christ had come to restore. lu0208-14.
   Kill one another Considering the fiery red horse as representing the apostate Christian church near the beginning of the time after Christ, this would indicate that Christians were killing or destroying others who believed in Christ. The three horns Daniel described as uprooted by the horn that grew from littleness were Christian as much as was the horn power that destroyed them but had different ideas about the nature of Christ. See da0708 and its note.
  Sword Military power (for persecution). da0812, da0725, re1304. Note 2 for verse 3.
.5  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.
Sources linked to often include more than one verse.
- - -
  Black [and pale] See note 1 for verse 5. The last two horses represent people of the end times.
  Black We think of mourning, humility and oppression da0724, re1206, re1103, le2327. See note b for verse 5.
  He that sat Christ is the judge jn0522, jn0526. He also opens or breaks the seals v1.
  Pair of balances Instrument of judgment da0527. He is holding the scales — judging.
.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 thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

  Voice ... midst of the four [living ones] Comparing with re0406, we may hear God, the One on the throne, speaking. He it was who spoke the ten commandments form Sinai ex2001, jn0638 and here He defines the standards for judgment while Christ, on the black horse, is judge.
  Measure of wheat Because He is told not to hurt the oil and wine, we reasonably see that He could hurt the wheat and the barley. Hurting in judgment would be to condemn. See the four commodities in 2ch0215.
  Hurt not ... oil ... wine Oil and wine are liquid and would not have been measured or judged by the scales. Many will not have had an opportunity to understand all about the divine law but some among them, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, will have lived according to what they did know to be right. The Judge who looks on the heart will open the gates of heaven to the oil and the wine! There will be plenty of time to learn more. ro0119, ac1730, ja0417. The God who looks on hearts is seen in 1sa1607.
  The judgment actually happens now in the time before the return of Christ while the black horse is being ridden. It began with the judgment of those represented by the white and red horses (righteous and wicked dead since sin began in the garden of Eden). The righteous and wicked who will be living when Jesus comes are not judged until their decisions are final at the close of probation re2211, just before Christ appears in glory re2212. See the note about the time in history when this judgment occurs.
 7  And when he 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 horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them. . . .
   Pale - Greek chloros, literally "pale green" Hebrew cognates would be yareq and yaraq which describe the green of plants. Study 2ki1920 and context. As God's instrument, Sennacherib was permitted to hurt people of other nations like the green (perhaps in the sense of "tender") herb 2ki1926. So the end-time people who have given themselves to the false religious powers are abused like the pale grass. Chloros is translated "green" in re0807. See note 1 for v8. They fight against the righteous of the black horse re1207.
   Name The riders of the other three horses are not named. Satan introduced death to the universe ge0304. His identity is highlighted because he will pretend to be Christ mr1321, 2th0209. His horse will claim to have the true end-time religion re1308.
   Death and hell - The first death is compared to a sleep jn1111 and is experienced by both righteous and wicked. The second death (hell/hades) is permanent. All the wicked who are living at the close of probation are killed at Jesus coming re1921. They will be raised at the end of the thousand years along with the wicked of all ages. Then they will die again re2013, re1806. Both deaths are certain at the time of the pale horse. Thus we see hades close behind death. Compare 1co1555, is2814-18.
Comments begin below verse

 8  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.

= = = = = = = = = = =
   Power was given God is ultimately in control as during the tribulation of 1260 years. Compare Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:7.
   Fourth of the earth - A fourth part because the end-time people of God are pictured. They refuse the deceptive demands of the three-part coalition of Rev. 16:12-14 which controls the rest of the world.
   This seal opening, along with the second, represent evil events. We may see the time of this seal as concurrent with and in opposition to the black horse of the preadvent judgment (the third seal). In a pattern similar to the case of the red horse which persecuted the early church (seal openings 1 and 2), this horse would represent persecution of the end-time righteous following the threats of the sea beast of Rev. 13:15-17 and would be followed by the pouring out of the wrath of God (14:9-12) in the seven last plagues. Thus the pale horse persecutes and then is punished during the time of trouble. In fact, this extension into the time of trouble where the righteous are protected (Dan. 12:1c) may be seen as the “death” that follows the pale horse.
   Kill - See re1315f.
   Kill ... with death The word "death" is from thanatos. Some believe that "pestilence" would be a better translation recognizing the influence of the Septuagint, but I'm not convinced. Compare re0223, mt1504. We may see "death" as all manner of dying or, more likely, the killing could imply spiritual death – the real motive of the attack on the end-time people of God re1315, re1217c.
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May God help us, each one, to be faithful to Him.

Note 1 for verse 2,
The rider and his white horse
    The white horse in chapter 19 is ridden by Christ Himself. To see a different rider in our present chapter would require very strong evidence. I have found none at all. The first horse is white for purity ps05107. Sin has destroyed our peace with heaven. Christ came with the ultimate objective of restoring it. At His birth, angels proclaimed the peace of God to earth, with "good will toward men." lu0213. In our present verse, we see Christ (as literally translated) "having a bow. And a crown was given to Him." He received the crown when He sat down with His Father on the Father's throne (Rev. 3:21). The bow could be either an archer's bow or a rainbow. The archer's bow fits into the conquest concept. The rainbow does not appear to. By His death, He fulfilled the promises of the ages receiving all power – His bow mt2818.

Note 2 for verse 2,
Like horses in battle
   As we began our study of this chapter, I briefly suggested how to understand the seals without giving you much evidence. It's good to look ahead this way sometimes to see where we are going, like looking at the picture on the jigsaw puzzle box. Of course reading human explanations of the prophecies is different. An author can paint a picture on the box that many of the pieces don't fit into. In such cases, we must hold his assertions as tentative until we can see it for ourselves from the Scriptures. I've painted the picture although my rationale may not yet be clear to you. The first horse and rider are not so hard to understand. We'll start with them. Then the others will be easier to decode.
   Remember that God's people are his horse in battle zc1003. I see the horses in our passage as God's professed people, His church. The first two appear at the outset of Christianity as righteous and wicked and continue through the centuries. The other two are seen near the end of the world. And we will find that each pair is "in battle" opposing each other. This strengthens the connection with the verse in Zechariah.
   Also see the table on the previous page. re0601.
Bow and arrows
    After the ascension and the inauguration of Christ r05b, He continued to minister to the world through the Holy Spirit directing His followers. Thus He is seen on the horse. His bow is their bow, the power of the gospel. The symbolism is drawn partly from Zechariah 9 zc09. Bowls are described there, too. More of their meaning is explained in connection with the seals of Revelation re1601-chart.

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