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Seals 1 - 4

Revelation Chapter Four

This chapter begins with the prophet seeing a vision of the Almighty seated on His throne. In Jehovah's (Yahweh's) right hand the prophet sees a scroll which is sealed with seven seals. The only one in the universe who is qualified to open the sealed scroll is Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God). He is symbolised as the Lamb of God (John 1:29). The heavenly hosts around the Almighty's throne rejoice at the fact that at last someone has been found worthy to open the scroll and tell its contents. From this we may infer that the angelic host are intensely eager to learn about the future of those things which must shortly come to pass. Oh that the church on earth would display a similar interest in the sealed scroll and the future of humanity. It is true, multitudes are apparently interested in the future, because great sums of money are spent each week by people who consult witches, fortune tellers, astrologers and mystics of every shade and type; but how few, by comparison, consult the Word of God or study the prophecies in order to find out what the Almighty says about the future? How very few!

We trust that when you have thoroughly studied this booklet, you will have taken a great step forward in understanding what the real future holds in store for humanity at large and for yourself in particular. And though the knowledge of it may initially fill you with dread, you may be sure that if you place your trust in the Almighty and do His will, your fears will gradually give way to a growing sense of confidence, a confidence that will stand you in good stead when the terrors of the last days begin to occur in your neighbourhood.

The First Seal ... A White Horse

Rev.6: 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.

Here we are shown the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the White Horse. The rider on the white horse carries a bow and goes forth conquering and to conquer. This means that he is victorious and invincible; nothing can halt his advance. Before we explain what the white horse represents, let us first draw the reader's attention to the FIRST CLUE to understanding Bible prophecy. It is comparing scripture with scripture: of letting the Bible interpret itself; of searching for the meaning of one obscure passage in another part of the Bible which describes the same subject or event in a simplified way.

It is perfectly obvious that there is only one future, and it follows that no matter how many Bible prophecies there may be concerning the future, they cannot contradict each other and still all be correct. Therefore, if one prophet describes the future in symbolic language in one book, and another tells of the same future in another part of the scriptures in simple language, a comparison of one scripture with the other will obviously direct us to the real meaning.

To help us understand the symbolic language of the Revelation we will first consider another Bible prophecy describing the same end-time scenes in simple language. The prophecy we will look at is our Lord's famous Olivet prophecy recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. In that prophecy the Master spoke of the end-time, the period in earth's history which occurs just prior to his return to earth. The Olivet prophecy is in plain language with a minimum of symbolic references. The order of events in the Saviour's plain language prediction, therefore, ought to be similar to those described in symbolic language in the Revelation, for both prophecies deal with the same events in the last days. When we examine the two prophecies side by side, that is exactly what we find. One complements the other, explains and fills in details which the other lacks: and together they provide us with a detailed picture of the world's future as it will occur just before the Master returns to earth.

Using this method of allowing one scripture to interpret another, we find that the white horse of Revelation 6 corresponds with the Saviour's warning message in Matthew 24.4-5

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.

This is plainly a WARNING message: Take heed! says the Master. The vast majority of Bible prophecies are in a sense warning messages, given by the Almighty to warn people of approaching punishment or danger. In order to warn effectively, a prophet must do at least two things:

This is what the Master is doing in Matthew 24.4.

He is opening his truth-filled warning message with the words 'Take heed!' and he closes by pointing to a way of escape. The prophecy of the Seven Seals is no different; for, like the great prophecy in Matthew 24, it begins with a truth-filled warning message symbolised by the invincible rider on the white horse and goes on to point to a way of escape.

The colour white represents purity and truth. (Isaiah 1:18, Rev. 19:8) The rider on the white horse corresponds to the Messiah's truth-filled, warning message of 'take heed' in Matthew 24.4. This rider symbolises God's Invincible Truth, which by its very existence warns us to beware (take heed) of deception and counterfeit in the church: the counterfeit baptism of the Holy Spirit, the counterfeit Sabbaths being celebrated by believers, the counterfeit messiah that is shortly to arrive on the world scene and the counterfeit Bibles which are currently being foisted on unsuspecting Christendom.

The rider on the white horse is even now galloping across the globe and there is no power in the universe that can check his advance. Yahweh's Truth is currently demolishing the strongholds of human ignorance and error and there is scarcely a country on earth where the light of the gospel has not begun to shine. People may, of course, choose not to believe God's Truth, but there is absolutely no way any person or government can stop its advance. Yes, the events under the first seal have already begun.

The Second Seal ... A Red Horse

Rev.6: 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.

In this seal the symbolic language used is almost self explanatory. The rider on the red horse, we are told, was 'given a great sword' and power was given to him to 'take peace from the earth.' Clearly this rider represents bloodshed and war; for red is the colour of blood and a sword is the universally accepted symbol of war. And that is exactly how the Master put it when he followed his take heed warning with:

Matt.24: 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

One doesn't need great spiritual insight to recognise in this verse a picture of our day. Violence, bloodshed, revolution and international turmoil are now commonplace and global war is a constant threat. The world, it seems, is glutting itself on an ever-increasing diet of violence, carnage and death; with each blood-bath being dwarfed by the enormity of the next. Read any daily newspaper, switch to any radio or TV station and the same, sad catalogue of violence and bloodshed fills the news. And always, above and behind it all, there lurks that fearful spectre of a nuclear war a war which could well nigh obliterate life from this planet.

What's more, all the efforts of world leaders, politicians, economists, scientists and even the theologians of all the faiths, cannot stem the tide of slaughter which is threatening to engulf mankind. Nothing, it seems, anyone can say or do can prevent the on-coming holocaust. Only the Almighty can stem this tide of evil which He so accurately predicted so long ago. Yes, there is little doubt, the second horseman of the Apocalypse, the rider on the red horse, like the white horse before him, is even now breaking into a gallop; and the thunder of his hoof beats can be heard around the world.

Power was given unto him to take peace from the earth, said the divine messenger, and oh how true those fearsome words have proved to be. Peace on earth is a vanishing memory and war is taking its place. The prophet Jeremiah also predicted war on a world-wide scale. (Jeremiah 25:15-38)

The Third Seal ... A Black Horse

Rev.6: 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.
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.

From the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, we learn that a denarius (translated 'penny' in this verse) was then the ordinary wage for a day's work. (Matthew 20:2-13)

Here we are shown a symbolic picture of hyper-inflation, crippling food shortages, rising prices and mass starvation! The rider on the black horse represents famine world famine! when food prices for even the barest of life's necessities will sky-rocket out of control. Can you imagine the world's economy so depressed that a man would work all day for the price of a few loaves of bread? I'm sure that not many of us can imagine this happening, even though rising food prices are all too familiar. But, according to this prophecy, runaway inflation coupled with frightening food shortages are due to occur in the last days. Indeed, in many countries they have already arrived, Prices are rising daily in all the markets of the world and there is very little anyone or any government can do to stop them.

The rider on the black horse may not be moving at speed in the West, but I can assure you that in the East, in South America and Africa he is out there in the field and he is soon to break into an earthshaking gallop. Famines generally follow war. In this and the Olivet prophecy Yeshua the Saviour confirms this when he says:

Matt.24: 7 Nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be famines.

The Fourth Seal ... A Pale Horse

Rev.6: 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.

The colour of the fourth horse is given as deathly pale or sickly, yellowish green. Again comparing the Revelation with the Master's Olivet prophecy we find that the sickly pale horse symbolises pestilence: deadly disease epidemics and plagues that so quickly lay low millions of humans engulfed in war and famine. This is not to mention the agricultural pestilence (pests) that periodically wreck havoc on our farms. When the pale horse breaks into a gallop it will appear as though the finely tuned forces of nature have become dislodged. Disease epidemics of all kinds will sweep across the globe bringing death to millions of people, their cattle and their crops. The severe food shortages pictured by the black horse will most certainly exacerbate the problem of pestilence, as the world's population, weakened by war and famine, struggles to keep alive. To be sure, the rider on the pale horse has begun to ride and death is following closely at his heels.

Summary of the First Four Seals

WAR, FAMINE, PESTILENCE, that terrifying trio which invariably overtakes civilisations given to sin. Reading through the prophecies of the Bible one can hardly fail to recognise the fact that warnings rejected are always followed by war, famine and pestilence; for that is the Almighty's way of dealing with those who persistently ignore His truth and reject His commandments.

Jeremiah 14: 12...I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
Jeremiah 24: 10 And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.

The great prophet Jeremiah analysed the messages of all the prophets of God that had gone before him and summarised their work in these telling words:

Jeremiah 28: 8 The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.

Oh yes, divine warning is the opening theme of almost every Bible prophecy, and when rejected is always followed by war, famine and pestilence. But will mankind ever take heed and recognise this fact, that if warnings are rejected there always follows war, famine and pestilence? It is doubtful. People, it seems, are quite unable or unwilling to link national calamity with national sin. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have, nonetheless, begun to ride, and as described in Revelation.

Rev. 6: 8 Power was given them over a fourth part of the earth
to kill with SWORD with HUNGER and with DEATH.

Introduction The Seven Seals Of The Revelation Seals 5 & 6

SBS   Prophecy   Book Index

Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
First published 1983 / Placed on the Internet 1996 / Updated: 1998 / Reformatted: May 2000