Rudy Ross rightly believes that God provides at least two witnesses to a truth he wants his people to receive. As we examine the judgments that are represented by the four horsemen, both Zechariah and Jesus witness to what John saw.
Zechariah 1.8-17 and 6.1-8 give pictures of the four horsemen. In Luke 21, Mark 13, and Matthew 24 Jesus describes the events that come before the end time.
Luke records Jesus’ message about the suffering the world will endure at the end. Different words are used by Jesus to describe the vision given to John, but the issues are the same.
— Luke 21.9-10 – Nations will war against one another.
— Luke 21.11 – Earthquakes, famines, and plagues will take place.
— Luke 21.12-18 – Followers of Jesus will be persecuted, but their persecution will be an opportunity to testify to the reality of Jesus Christ.
— Luke 21.18 – Jesus’ followers need to remain faithful to him during intense persecution.
One of the most important themes of the Bible is that God is active in human history moving the world toward a goal.
Eschatology is the study of last things. It comes from the Greek word “eschaton,” which means goal.
The goal of history is the salvation of the maximum number of humans and the establishment of God’s rule through his Son.
We must grasp the fact that everything that happens in the world must pass through God’s hand before it affects us. Whether we understand it or not, God is in control.
That brings us to the opening of the seals. Events that occur when the seals are opened are part of God’s plan of redemption for humanity. They are not just misfortune or the acts of evil actors.
Thus, we realize that four horsemen represent the forces of God operating throughout history.
The First Seal
In the vision, John saw Jesus open the first seal.
Then I saw the Lamb break one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures call out, as with a voice of thunder, “Come!” (Revelation 6.1).
Jesus alone is worthy to set in motion the events that will bring about the goal (eschaton) of human history.
When Jesus spoke with his disciples, he warned them to be ready for international and civil war. This fact is represented by the white horse.
I looked, and there was a white horse! Its rider had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer (Revelation 6.2).
The bow is a spirit of conquest and militarism, and the crown is a symbol of victory.
The news media is preoccupied with the war in Ukraine and the civil war in Sudan. There are 30 more conflicts or wars taking place as I write this article.
The white horse vision reminds us that whether we can understand it or not, God is using these events to move history to his redemptive plans for humanity.
The Red Horse
The red horse represents civil war and internal strife.
When he broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature call out, “Come!”
And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another, and he was given a great sword (Revelation 6.3-4).
As of April 23, 2023, 13,047 people have died from gun violence in America with 7,458 suicide deaths. There have been 171 mass shootings.
Of the 32 active conflicts in the world, nine are civil wars.
One of the civil wars is in Myanmar. The focus of the conflict is with ethnic Rohingya people. Last Tuesday, a crowd of Rohingya people was attacked by jets followed by Mi-35 helicopters killing 50 civilians including children.
Jesus reminds us that “all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs” (Matthew 24.8), and that he is at work moving us toward his goal for history.
The Black Horse
The January 2023 headlines read, “Russia’s war in Ukraine sparked a historic food crisis. It’s not over.”
The black horse represents what many in the world already experience, famine.
When he broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature call out, “Come!” I looked, and there was a black horse! Its rider held a pair of scales in his hand,
And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s pay and three quarts of barley for a day’s pay, but do not damage the olive oil and the wine!” (Revelation 6.5-6).
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 1.3 billion people are food insecure in 2023.
Leo Gibson is a star soccer player for the Comets. He is a friend of many at Maywood Baptist Church.
When Leo was growing up in Liberia, he ate once a day. He played soccer with a bundle of rags fashioned into a soccer ball. He played soccer to take his mind off of the hunger that gnawed at his insides.
Leo represents the astounding statistic of 1.3 billion people who are just like him.
The black horse reveals that hunger will reach all sectors of society. It also reminds us of the “birth pangs” that will take place before the return of Christ to set up his kingdom.
The events that we see happening in the world may seem like chaos and destruction, but we can take comfort in knowing that God is in control and working towards his ultimate goal for humanity’s salvation.
As followers of Christ, let’s remain faithful and testify to the reality of Jesus Christ even in times of persecution.
Let’s trust in God’s plan and work towards being a light in the darkness.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this on YouTube today. It is on the Bob Spradling channel.