White Horse Apocalypse
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30. White Horse Apocalypse
Revelation 6.1-4

"I watched as the lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, 'Come!' Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given the power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword." (Revelation 6.1-4)✞

Oppressed God's People

Wax Seal DocumentThe seven judgments in the Book of Revelation begin. As each of the scroll seals opens, events are set in motion to bring about the end of human history. Seals made from beeswax are used to authenticate or validate documents. The coat of arms or image of a significant person sending a document impresses a "matrix" or stamp of cast bronze, silver, or even gold. In Revelation, seals are used to close up items of importance on texts or scrolls. The opener breaks each wax seal as the scroll opens chapter by chapter, but all is not complete until he or she breaks the seventh and final seal. The contents of the manuscript portray God's authority over the events of human history. Scenes proclaiming the triumph of God and his witnesses intersperse these sequences. The riders described in these verses are commonly called the "Four Horse" or "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." In the Old Testament, Zechariah 6.1-5 sees four similar horses, "I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains – mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black, the third white, and the fourth dappled – all of them powerful. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, 'What are these, my lord?' The angel answered me, 'These are the four spirits of Heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world.'"

White Red Black Pale

Four Horse MenIn Revelation, these four horses ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses and cause violence to be loose upon the nations that oppress God's people. As the first four seals open, the "Four horses" appear. The "horses" represent God's vehicles of judgment on the people's sin and rebellion. God is directing human history through the horses, even using his enemies to accomplish his purposes.

Scarlet Horse Apocalypse

Four HorsesThe scarlet horse apocalypse causes men to fight and kill each other in wars and take peace from the earth. The rider of the "scarlet horse" is the second of the "Four Horse of the Apocalypse." The four horsemen ride on white, red, black, and pale horses. These may symbolize "conquest or pestilence," "war," "famine," and "death." This second fiery scarlet horse and rider may refer to Christ himself carrying a sword of judgment. The scarlet horse could also allude to a conquering military empire like the Parthians, on the eastern border of the Roman empire. Between BC 247 and 224 AD, the Parthians ruled large parts of what is today Iran and Iraq. They were experts at riding horses in battle and humiliated the Romans in the 58-63 AD war with victory at the Battle of Rhandeia in 62 AD.

Take Peace

Queen BoadiceaThe "fiery scarlet horse" and the rider with his "large sword" take peace from the earth and indicate blood, war, and slaughter. The sight of the red horse causes "Men to slay each other" and former friends to become enemies and "kill one another." Warfare and mass slaughter are frequent in John of Patmos's day when no fewer than one hundred thousand men die in battles between BC 37-67. A revolt in Britain is led by Queen Boudica, who is sometimes called "Boadicea, Boudicca, or simply as Budduc in Welsh." She is the queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe. The Romans eventually crush the British with one hundred and fifty thousand dead. These are incredibly bloodthirsty times.✞

"White Horse Apocalypse"
by Ron Meacock © 2020

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