Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures call out, as with a voice of thunder, “Come!” 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 6:1-2
The Four Horseman … If you’re a football fan, the Four Horsemen represent a legendary, Notre Dame backfield. Knute Rockne’s famed ‘horses’ lost only two games in three seasons, winning the national championship in 1925.
But, I’m sure you know that the name points back to Revelation 6, right? The Tribulation opens with the vision of a scroll, which is the title deed to the earth. But no one was worthy to break the seven seals to open the scroll … except for Jesus, the Lamb.
As our Savior broke each of the first four seals, a horse and rider would appear in each new vision. These first four seals made for “the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” So what did these four signs represent?
- “6:2 There was a white horse! Its rider had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer.” Who or what does this represent? The Antichrist. At the end of Revelation, another WHITE HORSE emerges (19:11ff). Don’t confuse them. The one at the end is Christ, himself. “19:12 On his head were many crowns.” He is, “19:16 King of kings and Lord of lords.” The Antichrist comes, imitating Jesus, but the crown is counterfeit – the “crown [must be] given to him” (and given by Satan). His “conquering,” violence, and deceit will define the next (and final) seven years of human history.
- Second, “6:3-4 when he opened the second seal, … out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another.” Traditionally, the war inaugurating the Tribulation period is thought to be “the War of Gog and Magog,” described in Ezekiel 38-39. Russia, Iran, and Turkey will launch an attack on Israel from Syria. It will be a resounding (if not supernatural) defeat of these nations. But the violence and carnage will create a power vacuum in world politics, into which the Antichrist was step. This supposed “man of peace” (see Daniel 9) will then make a seven year peace treaty will Israel. That’s the aftermath, but it begins with a blood-colored horse and war.
- Next, “6:5-6 when he opened the third seal, … there was a black horse!” The blackness of famine was coming next.
- And finally … death. That was the pale horse. “6:8 I looked and there was a pale green horse! Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed with him.” Death would envelop “6:9 a fourth of the earth [through] sword, famine, … pestilence, and … wild animals.”
Notice: Since the Antichrist has arrived on the scene, what will happen? Only disaster! It makes me realize how spoiled, hyperbolic, and hyperventilating we are, especially in America! In our American political moment, each party talks apocalyptically about every policy of the opposing party. And what happens? The economy goes up or down a point of two. A few laws get changed. The trajectory of the nation bends a little. But here are the pundits (on both sides) continually screeching apocalyptic warnings. But when the Antichrist comes, there will be catastrophic war, catastrophic famine, and catastrophic death (a quarter of the world’s population).
Two observations: First, let’s save the apocalyptic language for the real apocalypse! Second, what is it about the Antichrist that he only gains power and respect through the gradual destruction of the world? In America, we cry, “incompetence” and “impeachment,” over relatively minor changes in policy, but the Antichrist keeps growing in influence. How?! There’s a beautiful side of evil. The Antichrist’s charisma is off the charts. He uses every crisis as a catapult for his own personal advancement. The world will see themselves as fortunate to have such a wise, kind, capable leader in such a catastrophic time.
The Four Horsemen are not football players. The Four Horsemen are the beginning of the end.
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who sees God’s
prophecy and warnings
as acts of love and mercy
– he wants us to know
and steer clear