Revelation 6:3-11, World War X
The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse
In my previous post on Revelation, The Rider on The White Horse (Revelation 6:1-2), I identified the rider on the white horse as a spirit (or angel) who causes a military conquest somewhere on Earth. Moreover, I opined that this conquest may be the act of a conqueror, possibly that individual to whom we commonly refer as The Antichrist. Nevertheless, the rider on the white horse himself is a spirit who causes this conquest to take place on Earth.
The Rider on The Red Horse
When the Lamb, the Lord Jesus, opens the second seal on the scroll of prophesies and judgment, a second beast (a cherubim) calls on John to come and see.
John sees a red horse and its rider. Whereas the rider on the white horse had been given a bow (a long range weapon), this rider on the red horse is given a great sword, a weapon for hand to hand combat.
The rider on the red horse is also given power to take peace away from the earth so humans would kill each other. In other words, this spirit facilitates a world war (some would refer to this world war as World War III, but I prefer to call it World War X because we do not know whether this world war is indeed the third one: it could be a fourth one or a fifth one).
Moreover, the could be a relationship between the opening of the first seal and the opening of the second seal, between the events wrought by the rider of the white horse and the events wrought bye the rider of the red horse: it is likely that the conquest triggers the worldwide war.
The Rider on The Black Horse
The Lord opens a third seal on the scroll, and John is directed by another beast to come and see. John then sees a black horse and its rider.
Whereas the riders of the white horse and of the red horse had weapons with them, the rider of this black horse has a scale.
One of the beasts instructs the rider on the black horse to charge a day's wages for either two pounds of wheat or for six pounds of barley, but to not hurt oil and wine. It appears then that luxury products such as oil and wine lose demand, but basic foods such as barley and wheat become very expensive, probably due to their short supply.
This inflation seems to be the product of the world war. As the nations were affected by the war, and as they focused on fighting the war, their ability to produce food was reduced. Obviously, people living during this time are affected by starvation.
The Rider on The Pale Horse
The Lord opened the fourth seal, and a fourth beast called on John to come and see. John then saw a rider on a pale horse.
The rider on the pale horse was named Death: he is the angel that causes death; and he was followed Hades, which though personified here, is a temporary place for the dead.
John then tells us that these two, Death and Hades, had the power to kill the fourth part of the earth: that is, the fourth part of humanity. Currently, the world population is approximately 7.5 billion. If Death and Hades were kill the fourth part of humanity today, they would be killing 1,875,000,000 people.
Now, John tells us that Death and Hades were allowed to kill all these people with four things: sword, hunger, death, and the beasts of the earth. The sword and hunger seem to tie the death of 1/4 of humanity to the world war and the inflation on food brought about by the riders of the red horse and of the black horse. On the other hand, Death and Hades' use of death to kill humanity is probably a reference to diseases and plagues, which can easily spread during warfare.
But how will the beasts of the earth contribute to so many human deaths? It would appear that this world war will leave humanity vulnerable, without means for humans to defend themselves; and it would appear that Death and Hades will also supernaturally turn the beasts of the earth against humanity.
The Souls under The Altar
The Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, then opened the fifth seal on the scroll. He saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and their testimony.
This is John's first mention of an altar in heaven. The presence of the altar in heaven reinforces the view that the heaven John describes in Revelation is a temple, a tabernacle in heaven (Hebrews 8:5).
According to Revelation 9:13, this altar had four horns. Thus, the altar is similar to the altar God told Moses to build (Exodus 27:1-2). Such an altar was used to burn sacrifices unto God (Exodus 29:12-13).
That the souls are under the altar seems to mean that they are at the foot of the altar, for Moses' altar did not have space for people to fit under it.
Enactment of Dedication of an Altar in Jerusalem
According to John, the souls under the altar are the souls of martyrs for God. After the conquest, the world war, the inflation and hunger, and the deaths of 1/4 of humanity, God's people were persecuted and put to death.
It is possible that after such a great world war, the nations of the world decided to blame those who believe in God, particularly Jews and Christians (for these are the groups of focus in the Bible). After all, great tension exists in the Middle East today due to the Jewish state of Israel existing among many Muslim countries. Think of what would happen if Israel and Iran went to war: how many nations would be dragged into their conflict?
The souls under the altar then cried unto the Lord, who is holy and true, to avenge their blood on them that dwell on the Earth. Then they were all given white robes, which represents righteousness (Revelation 19:8), and they were told to wait for a short time until their fellowservants and brethren were also killed as they had been (notice that this passage in Revelation indirectly supports the view that those who die in the Lord are immediately translated to the Lord's presence).
Thus, there will be events in the book of Revelation that will be identified as judgments from God to avenge his martyrs. Humanity will be making a great mistake by greatly persecuting God's people and putting them to death.
Questions for Reflection
- How did the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand trigger World War I?
- How did Germany's invasion of Poland trigger World War II?
- How did an arms race between nations and alliances contribute to the escalation of world wars?
- Could similar events drag the world into a major conflict once again?
- What do you think is the source of conflict in the Middle East?
- Have Jews and Christians ever been blamed for the misfortune of others?
- Are there any groups in the world that are particularly interested in eradicating Jews and Christians?
Prayer on The Lesson
Father in Heaven, the events of which we read in the book of Revelation are dreadful, especially when we consider that many similar events have already taken place in history. Today, I pray that the light of your love and grace in Jesus Christ will continue to shine to save many people from these bleak events; and I pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith, that you would give peace to their souls.
I would like to invite you to share your thoughts, questions, and insights on the comments section below. I also would like to invite you to click on the links below to read the other devotionals I have written on the book of Revelation.
© 2019 Marcelo Carcach