Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
In the book of Revelation we find a disturbing vision of four fearsome horsemen (Revelation 6:1-8). Each of these horsemen is a symbol of four major spiritual agencies that have determined the character of the so-called Christian Age from the time of Yeshua down to the present. The first, and greatest in its effect, is the TRUE gospel (the WHITE horse) -- followed by strife (the RED horse), heresies (the BLACK horse) and death (the GREEN horse of Islam)!
by John D. Keyser
The book of Revelation is of great importance in that it provides spiritual strength and insight for YEHOVAH’s people. It highlights YEHOVAH’s interest in the churches of His people and the close and loving care that Yeshua the Messiah exercises toward them as the Fine Shepherd. Yeshua knows exactly what conditions prevail and what must be done. This is especially manifest in the first three chapters of the book.
Some people view Revelation as being so highly symbolic that it cannot be understood, or they take little care in interpreting it to come up with fantastic and erroneous results. But YEHOVAH God wants His people to understand, and He caused the Bible to be written to be understood and to provide guidance for them. The KEY to understanding Revelation is the same as the key to understanding other parts of the Bible -- YOU MUST USE THE BIBLE TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE! If we search the Scriptures we will find in them the things used as symbolisms in Revelation. By comparing these Scripture texts we can understand what the Revelation symbols mean.
The apostle John was steeped in the Old Testament and draws on the rich evocative imagery of the prophets. He knew -- as certainly as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel knew -- that what he wrote was directly given him by YEHOVAH, stamped with His authority. So with this mind, let us delve into one of the most mysterious and awesome subjects of the book of Revelation -- the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!
The Horse as a Bible Symbol
To correctly understand this portion of the book of Revelation, we need to learn the significance of the horse as a Biblical symbol. For this information we must turn to the Old Testament; for the horse is not mentioned in the New -- except in Revelation.
A study of the Old Testament will show that the horse is first of all the symbol of strength, might, or force of a certain kind for conquest and for progress. Characterized as he is by strength combined with speed and fearlessness, the horse aptly symbolizes that form of spiritual vitality and power that sustains, energizes and carries forward -- despite all that opposes it. It represents a GREAT SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT, whether good or evil. The horse especially typifies strength and courage for conflict.
We should especially notice YEHOVAH God’s own description of the characteristics with which He endowed the horse. Addressing Job, He said:
"Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder? Can you frighten him like a locust? His majestic snorting strikes terror. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he gallops into the clash of arms. He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; nor does he turn back from the sword" (Job 39:19-22).
Here YEHOVAH holds the horse up to admiration because of his strength, his utter fearlessness, and his refusal to be turned back by any form of danger. YEHOVAH further speaks of his irresistible determination and power to advance in the face of armed resistance:
"He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; nor does he stand firm, because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, “Aha!” He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of captains and shouting" (Job 39: 24-25).
The symbol of the horse and rider is as old as Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:17: “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider shall fall backward.” The same figure, in a similar sense, is found in the Song of Moses when the children of Israel reached the far side of the Red Sea: “Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to YEHOVAH, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!’” (Exodus 15:1). From this we get the distinct idea that the horse represents the progress of some great enterprise backed by strong military power. Therefore, anything that is pictured in the Bible as being carried forward by a horse is a movement that is sustained by mighty power -- one that advances into conflict against the opposing forces with fearlessness and with prospects of success.
Other passages in the Bible reinforce this concept. Notice Isaiah 31:1 (note the words, “rely on horses...because they are very strong”); Jeremiah 4:13 (”His horses are swifter than eagles”); Jeremiah 12:5 (”how can you contend with horses?”); Hosea 14:3 (”We will not ride on horses”) and Psalm 33:17 (”Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength”).
When we take into consideration the significance of the horse as a Biblical symbol -- as well as other factors -- it becomes apparent that the four horses of Revelation 6, and their riders, present a prophetic picture of the MIGHTY SPIRITUAL INFLUENCES, agencies or powers, which were to arise and go forth into the whole world at the beginning of the “Christian Era” -- and which were to impart to that era those special characteristics whereby it is set apart from all previous periods in the world’s history.
That our era is clearly set apart from the eras that preceded it, that it has various characteristics which are all its own, and that its most distinctive features are due entirely to influences which came into being at, and immediately after, the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, are FACTS that cannot be denied! By common acclamation this age is known as the “Christian Era” and its civilization is commonly termed “Christian Civilization.” Throughout the world its system of reckoning time has the date (although incorrect) of the birth of the Messiah for its starting-point. As a result, all men throughout the civilized world render -- whether Christian or not -- involuntary recognition to Yeshua the Messiah. They acknowledge (even though it is most repugnant to them to do so) that YEHOVAH’s doctrine has been the leading factor in shaping the course of human affairs for the last almost 2,000 years, and that the birth of the Messiah into this world was the beginning of an entirely new order of things among men.
In retrospect, we cannot fail to observe that the spiritual powers or agencies which have had the chief part in shaping the course of human affairs from the dawn of this era until now, have been FOUR in number. Not only that, but a careful examination of these powers or agencies show that they correspond respectively -- and in the precise order in which they arose -- to the symbolical representations of the four horses and their riders in the book of Revelation. The resemblance is so clear in each case that it is readily seen when pointed out -- and no twisting or manipulation of the meaning of the symbols is needed to produce the true explanation as YEHOVAH God intended.
This unique correspondence between the broad characteristic marks of the Christian Era and the symbolical scenarios shown under the first four seals of Revelation is, in itself, STRONG PROOF of the correctness of the interpretation. The agreement is too complete -- and it extends to too many details -- to be attributed to mere chance.
The visions of these four seals represent the going forth of mighty powers YEHOVAH God has used to shape the course of affairs throughout the entire age. They are to reach the very height of their activities in the closing days of this era, and show to us that the end is near -- even at the door!
The White Horse
"Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked and behold, a WHITE HORSE. And he who sat on it had a BOW; and a CROWN was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer" (Revelation 6:1-2).
The identifying symbols in this passage are (1) the COLOR of the horse, white; (2) the BOW; (3) the CROWN; (4) the fact that the rider went forth conquering (gaining victories from the very start) and ultimately “to conquer” (i.e. to finally triumph over all enemies). These marks or symbols are more than enough to show there is but one event or epoch in the history of the world that fits accurately into the scene we are now viewing. And that is the going forth of YEHOVAH’s truth with the power of His holy spirit. There is nothing else in the past, and nothing that has been revealed concerning the future, that can be made to harmonize with this scene -- or with these symbols. The SENDING FORTH of YEHOVAH’S TRUTH perfectly fits the scene and perfectly explains the symbols without any manipulation whatsoever.
The words by which this vision is described suffice to put before us the entire sweep of the gospel from its amazing beginning to its triumphant end. The indisputable fact is that whatever explanation of the vision you may adopt, it is clear that of all the influences that have combined to shape the character of Western Civilization, and have controlled the course of human affairs from the beginning of the age until now, the most potent by far has been, and is today, THE GOSPEL OF YEHOVAH GOD as proclaimed by Yeshua the Messiah and the apostles. In reality, the history of the leading nations of the world is in fact the history of Christianity -- whereas those nations which have been uninfluenced by the gospel are virtually without a history, and without any contributing part in the development of civilization. Their condition has been, at the best, one of age-long stagnation.
The other three influences -- which have operated in the affairs of men throughout this age -- had their rise in the SAME historical events that occasioned the going forth of the gospel. We will look into this shortly. It makes a strong statement for the UNITY of this group of visions.
True Christianity is very far from being a failure, as many would like to think; nor has the energy with which it was launched in the early days of this era dissipated -- it is energized by the spirit of YEHOVAH God. Nor is there any possibility of failure here because the rider of the white horse went forth winning victories everywhere at the beginning, and with the certainty also of a COMPLETE TRIUMPH at the end -- “conquering, and to conquer.”
Chapter 5 of the book of Revelation shows us the risen Messiah ascending the throne room of YEHOVAH God and sitting at His right hand to share in the sovereignty of the universe. It follows that since the very purpose for which he offered himself as a sacrifice was for “the sins of the world,” then the first exercise of his kingly authority would be the sending forth of YEHOVAH’s message of salvation into the very world which he had died to save.
All of this agrees perfectly with the Messiah’s parting words and instructions to his disciples, by whom that message was to be carried into the world: “Thus,” he told them, “it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and” -- the very next thing it should be noted -- “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.” And, furthermore, for this worldwide mission they were shortly to be “endued with POWER FROM ON HIGH” (the holy spirit -- Luke 24:46-49).
The very next thing after the enthronement of Yeshua the Messiah in heaven was the coming down of “power from on high,” in the form of the holy spirit or power of YEHOVAH for the very purpose of energizing the mission of preaching the gospel to the world -- which mission is NOT YET fully accomplished.
The color of the horse -- WHITE -- bears strong testimony to this because, as we have already pointed out, this color is used exclusively throughout the Bible to designate things DIVINE and PURE. There is absolutely NO REASON for assuming we have an exception here -- and an exception so great as to reverse the meaning of the symbol, as many in the Churches of God believe today. Not only that, but the evidence for this is raised from the level of high probability to that of VIRTUAL CERTAINTY by the fact that when YEHOVAH God issues forth out of heaven to fulfill the words “and to conquer” (Revelation 19:11), He will come riding a WHITE HORSE: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, A WHITE HORSE. And He who sat on him...” The words italicized are identical to those of Revelation 6:2. It is simply not conceivable that this identity of language could have had any other purpose than to reveal the IDENTITY of the subject.
Could anything be plainer than the fact that the end of YEHOVAH’s war and victory in Chapter 19:11 corresponds with its beginning here in Chapter 6:2? Those who make the rider of the white horse a symbol of the Antichrist of the last days, or of false religion -- thereby REVERSING the meaning of the symbol which the holy spirit has employed here -- realize of course that the COLOR of the horse completely CONTRADICTS their interpretation. They say (with no proof whatsoever to support it) that the Antichrist appears on a white horse in imitation of YEHOVAH God; but this is not dealing fairly or intelligently with the symbols. These symbols have, in every case, a Divine fitness, ascertainable from the Bible itself, to express pictorially the thing or event they are intended to represent.
He that sat on the white horse had a bow. The bow is a familiar weapon of war -- its peculiarity being that it can strike at a distance. It is used figuratively for power to make war, whether in a material or spiritual sense. Thus we find Jacob prophesying about Joseph, saying: “But his bow remained in strength” (Genesis 49:24). The bow is employed figuratively as a weapon used by YEHOVAH God. Job speaks of “the arrows of the Almighty” (6:4), and similar mentions can be found in Deuteronomy 32:23, 42; Lamentations 2:4; Psalms 18:14; 45:4; 77:17 and various other places in the Bible. Then we read of “the arrow of the Lord’s [YEHOVAH’s] deliverance” in 2 Kings 13:17. This is sufficient to show that the BOW is a symbol of that which discharges the messages of YEHOVAH God towards the mark they are intended to reach. In other words, it symbolizes the preaching of the true gospel in general and the individual gospel teacher in particular.
In Habakkuk’s prophecy is a highly figurative passage in which the prophet sees a vision, and in describing it he speaks of YEHOVAH God as riding upon horses and chariots of salvation. In this connection he says: “Your BOW was made quite ready; oaths were sworn over Your arrows....The sun and moon stood still in their habitation; at the light of Your arrows they went, at the shining of Your glittering spear....You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked...” (Habakkuk 3:8-13; cf. Psalm 110:6). From this scripture we can clearly see that the BOW is a SYMBOL OF YEHOVAH GOD’S WORD in the day when He goes forth into all the world for the “salvation” of men -- as pictured in Revelation 19:11.
Another passage that sheds clear light upon the symbol of the bow is Psalm 45 -- notice!
"Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One [YEHOVAH], with Your glory and Your majesty. And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; and Your right hand shall teach You awesome things. Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; the peoples fall under You" (verses 3-5).
In these verses the mention of arrows implies that the royal Warrior had a bow, since in the other scriptures the mention of the bow implies the arrows. Also, in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, verse 4 of this psalm reads as follows: “And in Thy majesty ride, and bend Thy bow, and prosper and reign, because of truth,” etc.
The Bible -- figuratively speaking -- puts a BOW and ARROWS into the hands of YEHOVAH God and sends Him forth on a white horse -- in the “day of salvation.” However, the Bible DOES NOT say a word of false religion or any Antichrist going forth on a white horse (or any other), or of his carrying a bow. And since we must interpret scripture only by scripture, we have in this case no choice but to be guided by scripture and take this passage as referring to YEHOVAH God in the book of Revelation -- or else abandon the Bible entirely.
The meaning of the clause “and a CROWN was given to him” agrees with the view that in this vision we have YEHOVAH’s TRUTH going forth into the world in the form of the gospel. In the original Greek the word for “crown” in this clause is STEPHA.NOS. In the New Testament two Greek words are used for the English word “crown” -- the other one being DI.ADEMA. According to the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary (edited by Merill C. Tenney) –
"In the N.T. (Gr. Stepha.nos and di.adema are used). The first refers to a garland or chaplet such as was worn by a victorious athlete. This type of crown is employed figuratively by Paul and John as A SYMBOL OF CHRISTIAN TRIUMPH (II Tim. 4:8, Rev. 2:10). The diadem was A SYMBOL OF THE POWER TO RULE."
In the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, by James Hastings, we read the following:
"In the NT the victor’s crown at the games (stepha.nos) is USED SYMBOLICALLY OF THE REWARD OF A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN COURSE, the incorruptible “stepha.nos” being contrasted with the corruptible (I Cor. 9:25; cf. II Tim. 2:5).
"It is a ‘CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS’ (II Tim. 4:8), the ‘IMMORTAL CROWN OF GLORY,’ the ‘CROWN OF LIFE’ (Ja. 1:12, Rev. 2:10; cf. 3:11). Hence in visions of heaven the crowns are prominent. The elders in Rev. 4:4 wear crowns (STEPHA.NOS) of gold; in the “Ascension of Isaiah” the prophet sees crowns laid up in the highest heaven for the saints; in “Barlaam and Josaphat,” Josaphat sees the people of the heavenly city with crowns in their hands (J.F. Boissonade “Avec. Groeca,” Paris, 1829-31, iv. 360)....Lactantius (”de Mort. Pers.” 16) describes the martyr’s garland of victory as ‘AN UNFADING CROWN LAID UP IN THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD.’"
John Peter Lange, in the Commentary On the Holy Scriptures, has this to say -- “Dusterdieck maintains that ‘stepha.nos’ here [Rev. 6:2] (as I Cor. IX. 25) denotes only the ‘WREATH’ OF A WARRIOR -- not the ‘crown’ of a king. The New Testament clearly shows that the crown (stepha.nos) of the rider in Revelation 6:2 is one of RIGHTEOUSNESS and CHRISTIAN REWARD:
I Thess. 2:19: For what is our hope, or the CROWN [STEPHA.NOS] in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
II Tim. 4:8: Now there is in store for me the CROWN [STEPHA.NOS] of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day -- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
James 1:12: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the CROWN [STEPHA.NOS] of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Rev. 4:4: Surrounding the throne were 24 other thrones, and seated on them were 24 elders. They were dressed in WHITE and had CROWNS [STEPHA.NOS] of gold on their heads.
Now the other Greek word for “crown” -- DI.ADEMA -- is commented on by Allen C. Myers in the Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary:
"Also in Revelation Gk. “Diadema” indicates a ROYAL CROWN, worn by the dragon (12:3, unlike the crown worn by the woman with child mentioned at V.1), the beast (13:1), and THE RIDER OF THE WHITE HORSE (19:12) who has MANY diadems because of his authority over ALL KINGS."
The Bible dictionary, Insight On the Scriptures, has this to say –
"In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the Greek word DI.A’DE.MA is rendered “diadem” by modern translators. It is always used as a SYMBOL OF KINGLY DIGNITY, whether real or merely claimed. The “great fiery-colored dragon” (Satan the Devil) has a diadem upon each of its seven heads. (Rev. 12:3, 9) A diadem adorns each of the ten horns of the symbolic seven-headed “wild beast” that ascends out of “the sea.” (Rev. 13:1)....Also at Revelation 6:2 and 14:14, Jesus Christ is pictured as wearing a crown (STE’PHA.NOS)."
Here we clearly see the difference between the white horse of Revelation 6:2 and the white horse and rider of Revelation 19:12. The rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2 wears the ste’pha.nos -- a symbol of Christian triumph and the reward of a faithful Christian course -- while the rider in Revelation 19:12 wears the crown or diadem of Kingly dignity and the power to rule. The first horse (Revelation 6:2) represents the going forth of YEHOVAH’s Truth, proclaimed powerfully by Yeshua himself and then by the apostles and disciples as they took the gospel message to the four corners of the known world; while the last horse (Revelation 19:12) represents YEHOVAH God Himself returning to earth in His Shekinah Glory to once again take up residence in a newly built Temple.
Conquering and To Conquer
If we are still uncertain regarding the identity of the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2, the last words of the passage -- “And he went forth conquering and to conquer” -- should surely make the matter perfectly clear. The entire clause is a most wonderful and descriptive explanation of the Messiah’s career in the New Testament. “He went forth conquering” -- these words bring up before our minds the early triumphs of the gospel of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, from the day it was first proclaimed “with the holy spirit sent down from heaven” to the end of the Book of Acts. And all the way from Jerusalem to Rome to Britain.
Then the last three words -- “and to conquer” -- carry our thoughts forward to “the end,” referred to by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15 where he unfolds the gospel of the Kingdom of God: “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when he puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (24-26). It is to this last victory over death and the grave that the words “and to conquer” especially refer -- for chapter 20:14 of the Book of Revelation records this final triumph, saying: “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.” And then, referring to the same event, the apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 15:54-55: “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
Therefore the words “conquering, and to conquer” provide strong, conclusive proof that the passage refers to Yeshua the Messiah -- and not to some antichrist. Also, it particularly symbolizes the GOING FORTH OF YEHOVAH’S GOSPEL into the world -- from the first century through to the return of the Messiah and YEHOVAH God at the end of the age.
The Red Horse
"When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” And another horse, FIERY RED, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to TAKE PEACE FROM THE EARTH, and that people should kill one another; and there was given him a great SWORD" (Revelation 6:3-4).
These words aptly describe the symbols of another mighty spiritual agency or power that has exerted a tremendous influence in shaping the development of Christian evangelism down through the ages. The color of the horse (RED), the words “to take peace from the earth” and “kill one another,” -- and the symbol of “a great sword” -- clearly testify as to the significance of this feature of the vision. What we have here is a symbolic prophecy of WAR. But it would be a great mistake to regard this symbol as meaning only (or even primarily) physical wars. It signifies something much broader in scope than that -- namely STRIFE OR VARIANCE OF EVERY SORT. In other words, what is pictured here is something SPIRITUAL rather than material.
This is underscored by Yeshua’s words in Matthew 10:34, when he sent forth the twelve apostles to proclaim the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Their “peace” was to come upon every house they entered that was worthy, while if it were not worthy their peace was to return to them (v.13). Yeshua then warned them to “beware of men,” predicting that they would be DELIVERED UP TO COUNCILS, and that they would be SCOURGED and BROUGHT BEFORE KINGS AND GOVERNORS. He then warned them that BROTHER SHOULD DELIVER UP BROTHER TO DEATH, and THE FATHER THE CHILD; and CHILDREN SHOULD RISE UP AGAINST THEIR PARENTS and cause them to be put to death (vss. 17-21).
So here we have Yeshua the Messiah’s own words -- spoken at the first going forth of the gospel -- that the IMMEDIATE EFFECT would be antagonism, variance and deadly strife. In other words, THE RED HORSE WAS TO FOLLOW HARD ON THE HEELS OF THE WHITE HORSE! And then, to sum up the whole matter into a single vivid sentence, Yeshua draws a word picture which astonishingly agrees with this detail of the picture of the rider on the red horse, saying: “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth; I CAME NOT TO SEND PEACE, BUT A SWORD” (v.34). When we compare these words with those of the vision in Revelation 6:4, “power was given him TO TAKE PEACE FROM THE EARTH...and there was given him A GREAT SWORD,” we can’t help but come to the conclusion that this apparent similarity of language is designed to reveal to us that the prophecy and the vision refer to the same thing. Not only that but Yeshua’s next words explain the figurative expression “a sword” -- as follows:
"For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in- law against her mother-in-law, so that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household" (Matthew 10:35-36, JNT).
Yeshua’s words in Luke 12:49-53 throw additional light on this subject. Speaking prophetically and using highly figurative language (vs. 35ff.) about the time of his absence, he uses these words: “I came to send FIRE on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled.” It is very clear from what follows that the word “fire” in this verse is descriptive of the same thing as the word “SWORD” in Matthew 10:34 (we should understand that “fire” and “sword” are commonly joined together when used figuratively). For Yeshua goes on to say: “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather DIVISION. For FROM HENCEFORTH” (he had just referred to his approaching crucifixion) “there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
The words of Yeshua, cited above from Matthew 10:35-36, are a quotation from the Book of Micah, where it is written –
"For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house."
The birth of Yeshua in Bethlehem is foretold a little earlier in this same prophecy (Micah 5:2), and his sacrificial death is implied in Micah 6:6-7. It is extremely interesting to follow the connection between the going forth of the gospel and the various forms of strife -- including wars -- that are sure to follow. The evangelists carry the gospel message into regions far beyond the reaches of civilization; they encounter opposition from the natives -- and often pay for their faith with their lives. But eventually animosity and suspicion are overcome by kindness and gentleness; the natives listen to the message; the gospel begins to do its work; and the community is slowly raised out of the depths of paganism. Also, their confidence in the evangelists has been gained, so that later, when the trader arrives on the scene, with an eye to business, he finds a favorable situation of which he proceeds to take full advantage. The natives are shamelessly exploited; and if the country is rich in natural resources, one nation after another presses into the opening made by the missionary; competition and rivalry follow; the natives start to realize (to their sorrow) that the men from “Christian countries” are not Christian at all; resentment and hatred of foreigners arise; agitators and terrorists seize the opportunity to fan the embers of hatred into a blaze; uprisings and other disturbances occur; and soon the whole country is seething. Thus the RED HORSE gallops hard upon the heels of the white horse; and when the seething turmoil comes to a climax, someone who has the ear of the public will, in all likelihood, rise up and lay all the evils brought about by a greedy and unscrupulous commercialism right at the door of the missionary.
Such, then, were the various kinds of “wars and fightings” that were to follow the gospel message everywhere that it went. This has been the state of affairs from the days of the apostles of Yeshua until now. The gospel has divided families into hostile camps, tearing apart the very closest ties of nature. Then, with its effects widening, it has divided communities into antagonistic groups; and then nations; and finally it has set nation against nation. Sometimes the warfare has been confined to words, feelings and attitudes. More often than not it has taken the form of physical violence -- persecutions, imprisonments, tortures, and where there was resistance (as between Protestants and Catholics in France, and later Ireland) civil wars. The Roman Catholic Church murdered millions of people during the Middle Ages -- this would never have occurred but for the gospel. All other causes of dispute put together have not contributed nearly as much to hostility between human beings as the single cause of religious difference regarding the gospel. Yeshua’s words have proved profoundly true: “I came NOT to send peace, but a SWORD”! What tremendous foresight Yeshua possessed!
The explanation of the meaning of the red horse has been given by the Messiah himself -- from his very own lips! How needful it was that his very own people should hear the truth from his very own lips -- that it was the EXACT OPPOSITE, “not peace but a SWORD”!
In the Book of Acts we can see clearly the beginning of the career of the red horse rider. Strife began where the gospel began -- in Jerusalem where “a great persecution” swirled around Stephen. From here it went forth, always following the course of the gospel. At Antioch in Pisidia the Jews raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas -- and expelled them from their coasts. At Iconium the Jews stirred up the Gentiles against them, the result being that Paul was severely stoned and thought to be dead when dragged from the city. At the gospel’s first appearance in Europe, at Philippi, antagonism and persecution immediately came to the surface. Next, at Thessalonica, the entire city was in an uproar. At Corinth and at Ephesus it was the same story; and so on to the end. The gospel was making its way against the united opposition of Judaism, Paganism, Greek philosophy and Roman cynicism -- which afterwards changed into fierce persecution -- and everywhere causing strife.
We should note that there is nothing in the symbols of the second seal which speaks of actual physical war. This we find under the fourth seal, where we find the words “to kill with the sword.” In the seal under discussion the words “to take peace from the earth” DO NOT imply war in the ordinary sense. The word “peace” in its Biblical significance means welfare, prosperity, tranquility. At the time of Yeshua and the apostles the world was caught up in the pax Romana -- a state of political tranquility maintained by the iron hand of Imperial Rome. Historians describe this remarkable era of Roman domination as “The two centuries of peace.” This era began with the reign of Augustus Caesar (30 BC - 14 AD) who was at the very height of his career when the Messiah was born in Judea (Luke 2:1). The reign of Augustus is regarded by secular historians as “the beginning of a new age.” Little do they realize to what extent, and in what manner, that “new age” was shaped by the influence of the child of Bethlehem and the man of Galilee.
The pax Romana was thoroughly established over the whole world in the days of Tiberius Caesar, the successor of Augustus, who ruled the empire at the time of Yeshua’s ministry. It continued through the reigns of Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Trajan and Hadrian, to that of Marcus Aurelius. It embraced the period of John’s visions on the island of Patmos, except for one outbreak in the days of Domitian, which was probably the occasion of John’s exile. With this fact in mind we can see special significance in the words spoken about the RED HORSE RIDER -- that it was “given him to take peace from the earth.” This was done so effectively that strife, wars and fightings have not ceased from that time to this, nor will until the return of the Messiah and YEHOVAH God. These words could not apply to the last days of our era because THERE WILL THEN BE NO “PEACE” TO BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THE EARTH!
It is a remarkable fact that the gospel was not to bring peace to the parts of the earth to which it was to go but, on the contrary, conflict. For the past 2,000 years the gospel has caused strife wherever it has gone. It has aroused antagonism, hatred and discord everywhere. The white horse rider with his bow has been closely followed -- even to the ends of the earth -- by the red horse with the “great sword.”
Yeshua made it known that instead of finding ready acceptance the gospel message was to encounter the most determined and violent resistance from all the powers of earth and the spirit world; that it was to be war from start to finish. He told his followers that they must be prepared to endure persecution like good soldiers; that they must take to themselves all the armor of YEHOVAH God; that they would need a sword more than a cloak; that there was to be “no discharge in that war,” since they must fight to the very end the good fight of faith. That the spiritual warfare he foretold would last for twenty centuries was not -- and could not -- have been for a moment supposed by the first disciples. But we, from our place in time, can see, in the light of these visions of the Book of Revelation, that it was to be so.
While this is so, we should keep in mind that while the influences represented by the last three horses of Revelation are in their very nature evil and hostile to the gospel, they nevertheless are appointed to further YEHOVAH’s purposes in the spreading of the gospel. For example, the opposition that Satan raised up everywhere against the apostle Paul -- which caused Paul to be removed from the field of labor and imprisoned in Rome -- had just the opposite effect from that which Satan intended. Paul, guided by the spirit of YEHOVAH, was able to write from his prison and say, “I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). And so it will be with all these bitterly hostile influences. While recognizing their evil character and intent, we may nevertheless view them as agencies which YEHOVAH God is using for the accomplishment of His great plan and purpose for this age.
The Black Horse
"When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come and see.' And I looked, and behold, a BLACK HORSE, and he who sat on it had a PAIR OF SCALES in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, 'A quart of WHEAT for a denarius, and three quarts of BARLEY for a denarius; and do not harm the OIL and the WINE'” (Revelation 6:5-6).
Most commentaries about these verses clearly show that the authors are groping blindly after the meaning of the symbols. It is commonly assumed that this vision represents famine; and the prices quoted for the wheat and barley are supposed to support this theory -- for it is said that these are “famine prices.” However, this is not a satisfactory explanation. There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that a man, going forth with a pair of scales and crying the sale of wheat and barley at any prices, is a symbol of famine. Neither has any proof been given that the prices quoted in these verses are “famine prices.” Nor is it easy to see what the command not to hurt the oil and the wine has to do with famine. That command simply does not fit into the picture of famine at all -- see the Biblical symbols of famine in Genesis 41:1-7. The true explanation will fully reveal the Biblical significance of the color of the horse (BLACK), the scales or balances, and the things mentioned by the voice from the midst of the cherubim, i.e. wheat, barley, oil and wine.
Furthermore, it should be noted that to the rider ON THE GREEN HORSE (fourth seal) power is given to kill “with hunger.” This in itself is enough to demonstrate that the black horse rider symbolizes something more and different than famine, otherwise we have a duplication here. That we have something directly in contrast with the gospel itself should be very clear -- for black is the diametric opposite of white. Not only that, but the gospel freely gives the bread of life, while here we find something that sells the prime necessities, both for rich and poor at fixed prices. The Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God brings blessings for all; but here is something that would “hurt” the oil and the wine if not restrained by divine command.
The Balances of Deceit
To get a clear understanding of this part of the vision, we need to go to the Book of Hosea. Notice!
"Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure (Hosea 8:8). My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations" (Hosea 9:17). "He (Jacob) is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress (margin, deceive)"/ (Hosea 12:7).
Here we have a clear prophecy of the characteristics of apostate Israel during the time the gospel was going out to the world. As a nation it was to be “swallowed up” among the Gentiles. As individuals they were to be “wanderers among the nations.” AND THEY WOULD ADDICT THEMSELVES TO THE DECEITFUL MERCHANDISING OF THE GOSPEL!
The passage last quoted above matches the symbol of the black horse rider so perfectly that we cannot doubt that the former is given us to unlock the meaning of the latter. The color BLACK symbolizes that which is hidden (deceit), as white fitly represents that which is truthful and open. And the balances are plainly shown to represent THE MERCHANDISING OF THE GOSPEL, to which our nations of Israel have addicted ourselves!
Here, then, is something great enough in its influence upon all mankind to be compared with the gospel itself, though of OPPOSITE CHARACTER -- a thing that has followed the course of the gospel everywhere, even as the BLACK HORSE is shown following the white horse. It is a force that has powerfully affected the very character of Christian civilization. While the rider of the white horse symbolizes the going forth of the TRUE gospel under the power of YEHOVAH’s spirit, the rider of the black horse symbolizes the going forth of a FALSE gospel under Satan’s spirit -- a false gospel going forth with “the balances of deceit” -- a deceitful gospel that has ensnared millions! If the WHITE HORSE and its rider represents the going forth of the TRUE gospel, the BLACK HORSE (which is the very opposite of white) must represent the going forth of a FALSE gospel -- a gospel of darkness and death.
The history of the past nineteen centuries fully confirms this conclusion. Paul mentions that the black horse was beginning to ride in his day when he proclaimed: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work,” and “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away [from the true gospel] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God....The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion [in the form of the black horse], that they should believe the lie [the false gospel], that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth [true gospel] but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:7, 3-4, 9-12).
This came to pass when the Roman Empire collapsed and the Roman Catholic Church rose to power in its vacuum. From Paul’s day to the present, the black horse has followed right behind the white and red horses, seemingly to overwhelm and hide from the world the true gospel message that Yeshua and the disciples brought to a darkened civilization. Look around you today -- instead of one pure, unadulterated worship of YEHOVAH God you find dozens, even hundreds, of differing and bickering “Christian” sects each claiming to have the “truth.” Logic dictates that only one can have the truth and that one, wherever it may be, is the result of the work of the white horse and its rider, while all the others are a result of the ride of the BLACK HORSE across the centuries. The prophecy of Hosea and the vision of John have been fulfilled, but the end is not yet.
Powerful corroboration of this understanding of the rider of the black horse is found in the visions of Zechariah. In Chapter Four Zechariah describes his vision of the golden candlestick whose seven lamps were fed with golden oil through golden pipes -- this being a figure of YEHOVAH God’s testimony on earth through His seven churches (see Revelation 2:1 - 3:22). This part of Zechariah closely parallels the visions John had at Patmos. Turning from the contemplation of the golden candlestick, Zechariah saw a flying roll (or scroll) which the angel that talked with him said was “the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth.” This shows that out of Judea was to come not only “the blessing of Abraham” (the true gospel) through those who were of “the faith of Abraham,” but also “the curse” (the false gospel) through those who rejected YEHOVAH’s truth and refused to submit themselves to His righteousness (Romans 10:3).
Then Zechariah was commanded to lift up his eyes, and upon doing so he saw an ephah (a measure that was covered with a circular lid of lead) going forth, of which the angel said, “This is their resemblance through all the earth” (5:6). Here is a KEY to understanding this subject. For the ephah, or corn measure, has almost the same identical significance as the balance (scales) in the hand of the rider of the black horse. And the words “this is their resemblance through all the earth” prophesy the very same thing concerning Israel as the words of Hosea, “He is a merchant” of YEHOVAH’s truth.
Following this the angel said to Zechariah, “This is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah” (a woman is the symbol of a church or congregation in the Bible), and he qualified this by saying, “This is wickedness.” Clearly, then, what we are seeing here is a FALSE CHURCH. Following this there came out two women having the wings of a stork. The wind filled their wings and they carried forth the ephah. At this Zechariah asked, “whither do these bear the ephah?” The angel replied, “To build a house in the land of Shinar (that is, BABYLON), and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base” (verses 7-11). So this false church or religion is transported, in the vision, to Babylon.
Shinar is, of course, the mystical city Babylon of Revelation 18, “that great city” in which the ultimate development of false religion is seen -- and which is to be overthrown by Yeshua the Messiah and YEHOVAH God at their coming. This house is not placed on YEHOVAH’s enduring foundation of truth but is, as the angel said, “upon her own base” of falsehood and deceit. As a result, its overthrow will be complete in the day when the word shall go forth, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen,” and heaven will ring with the praise of the angels.
“Bread By Weight”
In the English Version of the Old Testament issued by the Jewish Publication Society of America, the word “ephah” in Zechariah 5 is rendered “measure” -- (”This is the measure that goeth forth”), which brings this vision still closer to that of John’s, who heard a voice in the midst of the four cherubim say, “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny” (Revelation 6:6). Let us now consider the significance of the words uttered by that voice.
In the Bible the term “bread” can figuratively be both good and bad. In Proverbs 4:14-17 we read:
"Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on. For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence."
In a verse that can apply equally as well to the gospel, we read: “Bread gained by falsehood [deceit] is pleasurable to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel” (Proverbs 20:17).
Isaiah 55:2 shows that YEHOVAH’s spiritual provisions are far more important than material things by stating: “Why do you people keep paying out money for what is not bread [false religion], and why is your toil for what results in no satisfaction? Listen intently to me, and eat what is good [true religion], and let your soul find its exquisite delight in fatness itself.”
To eat “bread by weight” and to “drink water by measure” (Ezekiel 4:16) is to be in an evil state. It means that YEHOVAH’s truth has been completely commercialized and corrupted, and is measured out to the people by some great religious authority who feeds them what they think they should have -- with NO REGARD FOR THE TRUTH. The words that characterize the mission of the BLACK horse and rider mention specifically the BREAD of the rich, “wheat,” and the BREAD of the poor, “barley”; therefore declaring in figurative language that the very bread of life (THE TRUE GOSPEL) of every individual was to be under the control of this system, which has clearly come to pass in the actions of the Roman Catholic Church down through the centuries. The amount of truth to be feed the masses was determined by the upper echelons of the church, who corrupted and perverted the gospel message for their own ends. And their “decrees” were more absolute than those of Caesar of old!
For those with a mind to see, it is those who are able to place an inflexible price upon the true gospel who are really the masters of the people’s lives or “souls.” We can plainly see, as a result of the above facts, that the system described in Revelation 18, under the symbol of a great commercial and pagan city, is the outcome of the mission of the black horse and its rider -- and has reached full development in our day. This complete dominance of “Christian” civilization has come about so quietly, and so gradually, that only a few wide-awake people have realized what was going on. And their voices, when they attempted to raise a warning, were quickly stifled or drowned out. The ministry of YEHOVAH’s Word has been commercialized by men professing to be Yeshua’s ministers and ambassadors in an evil and hostile world who, in reality, are nothing but mouth-pieces of the world, preaching a “gospel” that is thoroughly conformed to the world. Not only have they made profit from YEHOVAH’s Word, but they have adulterated the bread of life making it both unpalatable and unwholesome. Such a state of affairs has come into existence throughout the “Christian” world -- and has now developed into full maturity.
The Oil and the Wine
The voice that issued forth from the midst of the cherubim, was a voice of not merely prophecy but also of authority. It added this prohibition: “And see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” Now in the Bible oil is a symbol of YEHOVAH’s holy spirit, and has been the force behind the ride of the white horse of Revelation. Wine, in the Bible, is also one of the gifts included among YEHOVAH’s blessings to mankind. An abundant supply of wine, symbolized by the “vine” in the oft-repeated expression “sitting under one’s own vine and fig tree,” denotes prosperity and security under YEHOVAH’s righteous rule -- see I Kings 4:25; II Kings 18:31; Isaiah 36:16; Micah 4:4 and Zechariah 3:10. Wine is also included in the restoration blessings promised by YEHOVAH in Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13-14 and Zechariah 9:17.
What we learn from the ride of the black horse is that the power for harm allowed to the rider was RESTRICTED -- even as YEHOVAH set strict limits to Satan’s power to harm Job. The rider of the black horse was not permitted -- in any part of his career -- to “hurt the oil and the wine.” In other words, the power of YEHOVAH’s spirit in disseminating the true gospel could not be hindered in any way by the ride of the black horse. Nor, even, could YEHOVAH’s ultimate blessings on those He called to His service be affected by the black horse rider. There should be great comfort in this assurance for those who are truly the people of YEHOVAH. It clearly tells them that even in the days of spiritual dearth -- when the giving forth of the bread of life was to be by measure and by price -- the “oil” of YEHOVAH’s spirit and the “wine” of His joy were not to be injured, and that today His people can always have a heart gladdened by the wine of YEHOVAH, and a face shining with the oil of YEHOVAH.
There is another passage from the Old Testament in which the four symbols -- the wheat and the barley, the wine and the oil -- are mentioned:
"The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up and the fig tree languisheth;...because joy is withered away from the sons of men" (Joel 1:10-12).
This important prophetic passage further shows how the chief products of the Promised Land are used as the symbols of SPIRITUAL realities. These symbols speak most dramatically of the consoling and healing influences of YEHOVAH’s true gospel; and the words of the voice which the apostle John heard in the midst of the four living creatures lets us know that the rider of the black horse was not to be permitted to “hurt” the restoring and healing ministry of the true gospel.
The Green Horse
"When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a PALE [GREEN] HORSE. And the name of him who sat on it was DEATH, and HADES followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to KILL WITH SWORD, with HUNGER, with DEATH, and by the BEASTS OF THE EARTH" (Revelation 6:7-8).
The word here rendered “pale” is chloros, from which the gas known as “chlorine” is named. It is of a green color. The word occurs in only two other places in the Book of Revelation, in both of which it is translated “green” (see 8:7 and 9:4). In Revelation 8:7 the Greek word chloros is applied to the earth's vegetation, and in Revelation 9:4 it refers to green things in the context of vegetation. While at first glance the significance of the color of the horse may not be as clear as in the other three horses, we can get some help from the rest of the verse for the name of the rider is plainly given -- DEATH. Moreover, Death is joined here with HELL, that is, Hades or the grave. The rider is “Death,” and his mission is “to kill”; and Hades -- or the grave -- is pictured as following with him to gather in, as it were, the victims.
Since death has been busy in all parts of this world since the fall of man, it is evident that this passage has some other significant meaning. Therefore, “death” must here be the RESULT of some destructive spiritual influence that has been specially active in the gospel era. From what we have learned about the black horse the meaning of the GREEN horse should not be too difficult to ascertain.
It is a fact that Satan has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14); and we learn from the Parable of the Tares that after the sowing of the “good seed” of the gospel (represented by the WHITE horse), the enemy was to come and sow tares (a FALSE gospel) among the wheat. In explaining the parable Yeshua the Messiah said that “the enemy” who sowed the tares “is the Devil” (Matthew 13:24, 25, 38, and 39). This was the FORCE behind the ride of the BLACK horse. Since the four horses represent respectively the four spiritual agencies that have chiefly influenced and determined the character of “Christian” civilization, and that the first horse and rider represent the gospel of YEHOVAH, then Yeshua’s teaching would lead us to expect something going forth to COUNTERACT the true gospel, something representative of some special form of Satanic activity corresponding to the going forth of “the enemy” into the field (world) after Yeshua and the apostles sowed the good seed therein. This was accomplished by the ride of the GREEN horse.
The going forth into the world of YEHOVAH’s gospel necessitated a complete change of tactics on the part of the “enemy.” Satan’s devices, which had served to keep the nations in the darkness and corruption of rank paganism would serve no longer. Other means must therefore be adopted; and the course of the gospel must be observed and followed with something specially adapted to counteract its influence and nullify its effects. The effect of the gospel is to impart LIFE; but the purpose of Satan is “TO KILL.” Those who obey Yeshua in faith are gathered into the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God where “grace reigns unto eternal life.” In contrast with this, DEATH is accompanied by Hell, or the grave, into which its victims are gathered. The gospel is “the word of TRUTH” so, by way of contrast, the black horse represented the most deceptive form of "the lie" Satan would employ for his ends (II Thessalonians 2:12). So now a completely different form of teaching, some grotesque imitation of the gospel, a religion that completely corrupts and perverts the true gospel of YEHOVAH God was initiated by Satan. What could this other "gospel" be?
With the powerful resurgence of Islam in the world today, many people are puzzled why the Bible apparently makes no mention of a movement that holds sway over one-quarter of the world's population. Would you be surprised to learn that the official color of Islam is green? And is it possible that this relates in any way to the green horse of Revelation 6:8? Could the green horse be a prophetic symbol of Islam?
Islam certainly fits into the pattern of the previous three world movements symbolized by YEHOVAH's true religion, strife and persecution that followed in the wake of the true gospel message and the going forth of a corrupt and deceitful gospel impelled by the Roman Catholic Church. Let's look at the entire prophecy about the green horse: "And I looked, and behold, a PALE [GREEN] HORSE. And the name of him who sat on it was DEATH, and HADES followed with him. And power was given to them over A FOURTH OF THE EARTH, to KILL WITH SWORD, with HUNGER, with DEATH, and by the BEASTS OF THE EARTH."
The Color Green
Since the color of the horse can legitimately be translated as green, and since the official color of Islam is green, that aspect of the prophecy certainly fits. In 1878 Littell's Living Age magazine published an article entitled, The Green Flag of the Prophet in which the author revealed the origin of the banner belonging to Muhammed -- founder of the Muslim religion. Muhammed's banner was green; and it was written that Muhammed, gazing out upon a vast panorama of fields, declared: "Nature is green, and green shall be my emblem, for it is everlasting and universal."
Muhammed's flag "is of green silk, with a large crescent on the top of the staff, from which is suspended a long plume of horsehair (said to be the tail of the prophet's favorite Arab steed), while the broad folds of the flag exhibit the crescent and quotations from the Koran." Brewer's Dictionary (1894) offers this description:
"The Banner of the Prophet (Mahomet): What purports to be the actual standard of Mahomet (Mohammed) is preserved in the Eyab Mosque of Constantinople (now Istanbul). It is called the Sinjaqu 'sh sharif. It is made of four layers of silk, the top-most being green, embroidered with gold. In times of peace it is guarded in the hall of the 'noble vestment' as the dress worn by the prophet is styled. In the same hall are preserved the sacred teeth, the holy beard, the sacred stirrup, the sabre and bow of Mahomet."
The Islamic prophet is said to have worn a green cloak and turban, and his writings are full of references to the color. A passage from the Quran describes paradise as a place where people "will wear green garments of fine silk." One hadith, or teaching, says, "When Allah's Apostle died, he was covered with a Hibra Burd which is a green square garment. As a result, you'll see green used to color the binding of Qurans, the domes of mosques, and, yes, campaign materials.
It is said that if this green banner of Muhammed is ever raised above the Mosque in Istanbul, it is a sign to the entire Muslim world that it is time to go to war against Christians throughout the world. States Littell's 1878 article:
"The raising of the green standard is a call which none may disobey, without sacrificing, as the Koran calls it, all hopes of Paradise.
"It is a summons to an anti-Christian crusade, a challenge of every believer in the Prophet to arms; a war-signal in fact, which, like the fiery cross of Scotland, would flash its dread command through the domain of Islam. In the interests of humanity, however, we may hope that the 'commander of the faithful' will never utter the dreadful word; for then indeed would the whole soul and strength of Christendom turn against the enemy of all civilized laws, human and divine.
"The Prophet himself predicted that one day when his followers should number a hundred millions -- which they do now, with twenty millions more added to it -- his flag should fly against the advancing power of the northern races; and the Koran, or Mohammedan Bible, says that when its silken folds are flung forth 'the earth will shake, the mountains melt into dust, the seas blaze up in fire, and the children's hair grow white with anguish."
Green comes up a lot in Islamic history. It was the color of the flag of the Fatimid Caliphate, the last of the four Arab caliphates. During the crusades, Islamic soldiers wore green to identify themselves. (Likewise, crusaders avoided green in their coats of arms, just to be safe from friendly fire.) Some say the banner under which Muhammed fought in the war on Mecca was green with golden trimming. (The flag is currently locked away in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey.) For centuries in Persia, only descendants of Muhammed, known as the Sayyids, were allowed to wear green turbans -- anyone else would be punished for it. Green was also favored by the Ottoman Empire, which after the Tanzimat reforms of the mid-19th century dyed its secular flags red and its religious flags green.
In September 2006 WorldNetDaily.com reported that an influential Islamic preacher in Gaza -- Sheik Abu Saqer -- declared that "the day will come when the GREEN FLAG OF MUHAMMED will be raised upon the Vatican and all around the world."
This is in direct conflict with the TRUE ensign, the flag of YEHOVAH God, Yeshua the Messiah! Six times the book of Isaiah calls the Messiah an ensign (a banner or flag). YEHOVAH God "will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and...they shall come with speed swiftly" (5:26). The Messiah is the TRUE flag of YEHOVAH God, and when they return, his presence will be infinitely more significant than the flag of Muhammed.
Muhammed founded Islam in Mecca, in what is now called Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is 100% Muslim, and lives under Sharia (Muslim) law. In the Saudi flag above, we can see three things: 1) Green background, 2) a sword, and 3) the Arabic inscription "No god but Allah, and Muhammed is his prophet." Make no mistake about it -- Islam has NEVER been a religion of peace. It is a religion of the sword.
The flag of the Muslim extremist group, Hamas, has a green banner, the crossed swords and the Jerusalem mosque. These are the winners of the 2006 elections in the Palestinian Authority, and are warring for the annihilation of the State of Israel. They have completely taken control of the Gaza Strip in defiance of their own government, led by Fatah -- another terrorist group founded by the late Yasser Arafat.
The Hezbollah flag has the name "Allah" in Arabic holding an automatic weapon. Syria sponsors this group. Hezbollah is the terrorist arm of Syria -- wreaking death and destruction in Southern Lebanon and Northern Israel.
The flag of Iran has green for Islam, white for peace(!) and red for (are you ready for this?) -- courage! The symmetrical inscription says, "No god but Allah!" President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, fueled by his Muslim extremist spiritual adviser Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly sworn Iran and Islam to the death and destruction of both Israel and the United States. He publicly pledges to "wipe Israel off the map." In 2001 Khamenei said of Israel, "this cancerous tumor of a state should be removed from the region." And this is the religion of peace? Never was, never will be.
Muslim clerics cynically boast that the West loves life, but that "Islam loves death." This is consistent with John's prophecy. They teach their followers that the most glorious path to paradise is martyrdom -- death by killing others while performing the act of suicide. The rider of the green horse was Death. Islam has become synonymous with death due to its dreaded suicide bombers. Almost daily we hear reports of deadly suicide attacks in Israel, Iraq, Spain or London. Islam teaches that the shedding of ones own blood in martyrdom in the name of Allah is how they are accepted into heaven. This is in COMPLETE CONTRAST with the redeeming blood of the Messiah that was shed for the remittance of all sins so that through him we are accepted into the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Satan has Muslim terrorists believing that when they commit an act of suicide killing they will be rewarded with paradise when, in fact, they are immediately sent to the grave. If not repented of, "all murderers will have their part in the lake of fire" (Revelation 21:8). When a Muslim sacrifices his life in the name of the FALSE GOD OF ALLAH, he is dying in his sins!
This deadly, soul-destroying lie -- in various forms -- has followed the track of the gospel in every part of the field -- and from the days of Muhammed until now. Wherever the WHITE horse and his rider have gone, the RED and BLACK horses have followed, with the GREEN horse and his rider tagging along in the rear with hell or the grave as his companion. DEATH and the GRAVE were the natural results for those who refused to partake of the heresies of the green horse!
Death is the trademark of the GREEN HORSE -- just as death is the trademark of Islam. Can anyone question the accuracy of the prophecy when Islam today is associated around the world with the nearly 3,000 deaths in the New York's World Trade Center attack of 9-11-2001, and more than 8,000 subsequent Muslim bombings around the world since that time? Where is this so-called "religion of peace"??
A Quarter of the Earth
The spirit of the green horse is described as having power over the fourth part of the earth. How does this square with today's population demographics? Estimates of the followers of Islam by country -- based on U.S. State Department figures -- yield a total of 1.48 billion (Wikipedia Encyclopedia). This would be exactly one-fourth of the world's population. Another source states: "A comprehensive 2009 demographic study of 232 countries and territories reported that 23% of the global population, or 1.57 billion people, are Muslims. Of those, it's estimated over 75–90% are Sunni and 10-20% are Shi'a, with a small minority belonging to other sects. Approximately 50 countries are Muslim-majority, and Arabs account for around 20% of all Muslims worldwide. Between 1900 and 1970 the global Muslim community grew from 200 million to 551 million; between 1970 and 2009 the Muslim population increased more than three times to 1.57 billion."
Satan has used various destructive agencies, not the least was the sword. John 6:8 says that the people of the green horse are to kill with the sword. It has been a long tradition within Islam to kill with the sword for centuries -- even in these modern times. When they behead infidels, it is with the sword. And, as we have seen, the symbol of the crossed swords is on many of their flags. The Greek word for sword in John 6:8 actually means "long sword," which eliminates the armies of Rome as being the source of this prophecy. The legions of Rome carried the short sword -- and were famous for their competency in the use thereof. On the other hand, the forces of Islam carried the long sword, enabling them to kill their adversaries from horseback. All the historical references agree that the forces of Islam carried the long sword. To kill with HUNGER -- many of the governments and leaders of the Islamic nations in the Middle East and Africa purposely oppress their people in poverty and hoard the wealth to themselves hence, killing with hunger and death. Islamic countries are known for the proliferation of violence, poverty and disease.
Recently Mohammad Abbaspour, a member of Iran's Majlis (parliament), said that at least 90 percent of his country's population is under the poverty line: "90 percent of the population are living under the poverty line and only ten percent of the people have access to social services provided by the government". He stated this in an interview with a hard-line state-run news agency. "The Ministry of Housing has built many accommodations but we must ask this ministry, how many of these constructions built are housing poor people", the Majlis deputy from Urumiyeh (northwest Iran) said. Abbaspour warned that Iran was becoming a country with vastly separated social classes: "In the past 25 years…we have witnessed immense pressures in society, indicating social injustice. This phenomenon has led to the rise of social ills such as homeless tramps, higher divorce rates, poverty, and prostitution. Abbaspour, a member of the Majlis Social Affairs Committee, blamed the government for turning a blind eye to pervasive corruption in Iran. These same problems can be found in many of the Islamic nations.
Beasts of the Earth
"Beasts of the earth” can certainly imply human governments. Arnobius (who died c. 330 A.D.) observed that allegorically speaking certain men could be compared to wild beasts -- Herod is called a fox in the Bible, and Nero a lion.
also be taken quite literally!
This would be one of the consequences of war, famine, and pestilence. Lands
would be depopulated, and wild beasts would be multiplied. Nothing more is
necessary to make them formidable than a prevalence of these things; and
nothing, in the early stages of society, or in countries ravaged by war, famine,
and the pestilence, is more formidable. Homer, at the very beginning of his
presents us with a representation similar to this. Compare Ezekiel
"I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and
the noisome beast, and the pestilence." War brings on scarcity, and scarcity
pestilence, through want of wholesome sustenance; and pestilence, by
depopulating the country, leaves the few survivors an easier prey to the wild
Zechariah 6 In Zechariah 6 we
find the origin or prototype of the four horses of Revelation -- notice! "Then I turned and
Raised my eyes and looked, and behold four chariots were coming from between two
mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze. With the first chariot
were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, with the third chariot
white horses, and with the fourth chariot dappled horses -- strong steeds.
Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, 'What are these,
my lord?' And the angel answered and said to me, 'These are four spirits of
heaven, who go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth. The
one with the black horses is going to the NORTH COUNTRY, the white
are going AFTER THEM, and the dappled are going toward the SOUTH
COUNTRY.' Then the strong steeds went out, eager to go, that they might walk
to and fro throughout the earth...And He called to me, and spoke to me,
saying, 'See, those who go toward the north country have given rest to My
spirit in the north country." (Zechariah 6: In the reference
above the fourth horse is called "dappled. "Dappled" is not a color, but a
texture (spotted or splotched). The Hebrew word that is translated "dappled"
here is not used anywhere else in the Bible. It is an uncertain term that
more accurately means "strong or courageous." Therefore, when we combine
what we know about the fourth horse from both Zechariah and Revelation, we see a
"strong, courageous green" horse. The universally identifiable color of Islam is
green. Look at virtually anything that has to do with Islam and you will see
GREEN -- and it is definitely STRONG, COURAGEOUS! It is interesting
to note that the red horse is not mentioned going to any country -- which is
consistent with what we learned about the red horse of Revelation 6! The white
and black horses went north, and eventually north-west, which is where true
Christianity, followed by the false "Christianity" of Catholicism, went. The
passage then says that the fourth horse went into the south country. This, too,
is amazingly accurate since over 96.5% of the world's Muslims live in Africa and
southern Asia -- and Islam's capital, Mecca, is south of Israel. Egypt's Green
Horse The following article is found on
http://www.wnd.com and refers to an event that
occurred on Friday, February 4, 2011 at Tahrir Square in Cairo during the
Egyptian demonstrations: "A mysterious, pale
green figure seen in televised news coverage of the Egyptian riots has
prompted some viewers to ask, “Could this be the Fourth Horseman of the
Apocalypse?” "The footage, provided by
Euronews and subsequently seen on MSNBC,
CNN and uploaded over a dozen times to the popular video sharing
site YouTube, captures the fiery, violent protests in Cairo
this past week … and something else. "Between the crowds of
protesters and barricades, the video shows a flowing, pale green image
that resembles an erect rider atop a horse in Medieval-like barding. The
ethereal figure remains for a few moments before floating over protesters’
heads and off the screen. "The last of the biblical
Book of Revelation’s Four Horseman of the Apocalyse, the “pale rider” is
said to be the bringer of death and the forerunner of “hell” on earth. "The Book of Revelation
refers to a time when “the Lamb” -- usually understood to
be the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ -- opens the seven seals
of a scroll of judgment. Each of the first four seals is accompanied by a
horseman of a different color, each bringing a separate calamity. "When the fourth seal is
opened, Revelation 6:8 records, “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.” "Is the image from Egypt a
fulfillment of Revelation’s prophecy? "Comments from the tens of
thousands of viewers who have watched the video on YouTube
express a wide array of opinion. "Some claim the video’s
“pale rider” is a sign and the greenish tint is somehow symbolic of Islam,
while others insist the image has been added to the footage by editing
technology. Still others point to three, trailing points
of light in the footage that move away from the crowds at the same time and
speed as the “horseman,” indicating that both the “rider” and the lights are
merely smudges or reflections cast on the lens of a moving camera. "One comment, from a viewer
calling himself TheRhythmhawk, also tried to explain the “pale rider” and
the trailing lights as simply lens reflections, but eventually concluded,
“The image of the horseman leaves more questions than answers.”
I can not tell you if it is a quirk in the
camera, or a purposely done trick. Or even something supernatural in nature or
even perhaps man using a hologram. Perhaps it is Satan coming with his lying
signs or wonders. Perhaps it is what it appears to be. I cannot say. Whatever it
is, it is very convincing specter of a horse and rider. Strange indeed
when you consider all the information above! Conclusion The four living creatures, who are associated in a special way with YEHOVAH’s
purposes in the new creation, are definitely related to the action of the four
horses and their riders. This further confirms the fact that what YEHOVAH has
revealed to us here are the symbols of the four major spiritual agencies, whereby
the character of this age has been largely determined. The first and greatest
in its effect is the TRUE gospel (the WHITE horse) -- through which YEHOVAH
God is acting upon the world directly through His Word and spirit. By
the other three the effects of the Messiah’s coming into the world act upon
it indirectly. For the strife and variance (the “sword”) which
he said he would send throughout the earth (the RED horse), were provoked by
the true gospel, and have always and everywhere followed in its wake. Likewise
the powerful influence of the propagation of a commercialized and perverted
gospel by Satan’s campaign of venomous lies, murderous heresies, suppression
of the Scriptures and stirring up the hatred of governments against the true
gospel (the BLACK horse), has led to the great harvest of the GREEN horse of
DEATH and the GRAVE. If you are at all observant you will realize that the color scheme of the horses
shows a progression downward, ending in darkness and death. This, of
course, is “according to the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2). But YEHOVAH
God’s order reverses this. He finds us in a state of death and darkness,
and raises us up to the brilliant light of His Holy Word, bringing us to the
time when YEHOVAH “will wipe away every tear” from our eyes, and to the time
when “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall
be no more pain, for the former thing have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). This
is the time when YEHOVAH God the Father Himself will once again dwell with mankind,
“and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their
God” (21:3). Satan has done a superlative job, for even today the very Churches of God
are thoroughly confused over the meaning of the Book of Revelation. Many believe
the white horse and its rider represent false religion -- an interpretation
that is thoroughly refuted by the Bible. Others believe that with Bin
Laden and President Obama we have entered into the time of the red horse, while
others believe it represents coming wars that will precede the end of the age.
According to some the black horse represents famine or global inflation -- or
a connection with the black uniformed SS troops of Nazi Germany!! The majority
believe the green horse represents plague or pestilence -- but the original Greek
does not say that! The word translated “plague” in some versions of the Bible
is also translated “death” in others. Revelation 6:8 clearly defines the
horse by naming it “Death”! While plague or pestilence can certainly be the
outcome of persecution by those promoting false religion, this is NOT the main
thrust of the ride of the green horse. Only when you interpret scripture with
scripture can the TRUTH regarding the four horsemen of the Apocalypse
be revealed. Hope of Israel
Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God
and His Messiah! Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.
Scan with your
In Zechariah 6 we find the origin or prototype of the four horses of Revelation -- notice!
"Then I turned and Raised my eyes and looked, and behold four chariots were coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze. With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot dappled horses -- strong steeds. Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, 'What are these, my lord?' And the angel answered and said to me, 'These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth. The one with the black horses is going to the NORTH COUNTRY, the white are going AFTER THEM, and the dappled are going toward the SOUTH COUNTRY.' Then the strong steeds went out, eager to go, that they might walk to and fro throughout the earth...And He called to me, and spoke to me, saying, 'See, those who go toward the north country have given rest to My spirit in the north country." (Zechariah 6:
In the reference above the fourth horse is called "dappled. "Dappled" is not a color, but a texture (spotted or splotched). The Hebrew word that is translated "dappled" here is not used anywhere else in the Bible. It is an uncertain term that more accurately means "strong or courageous." Therefore, when we combine what we know about the fourth horse from both Zechariah and Revelation, we see a "strong, courageous green" horse. The universally identifiable color of Islam is green. Look at virtually anything that has to do with Islam and you will see GREEN -- and it is definitely STRONG, COURAGEOUS!
It is interesting to note that the red horse is not mentioned going to any country -- which is consistent with what we learned about the red horse of Revelation 6! The white and black horses went north, and eventually north-west, which is where true Christianity, followed by the false "Christianity" of Catholicism, went. The passage then says that the fourth horse went into the south country. This, too, is amazingly accurate since over 96.5% of the world's Muslims live in Africa and southern Asia -- and Islam's capital, Mecca, is south of Israel.
Egypt's Green Horse
The following article is found on http://www.wnd.com and refers to an event that occurred on Friday, February 4, 2011 at Tahrir Square in Cairo during the Egyptian demonstrations:
"A mysterious, pale green figure seen in televised news coverage of the Egyptian riots has prompted some viewers to ask, “Could this be the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse?”
"The footage, provided by Euronews and subsequently seen on MSNBC, CNN and uploaded over a dozen times to the popular video sharing site YouTube, captures the fiery, violent protests in Cairo this past week … and something else.
"Between the crowds of protesters and barricades, the video shows a flowing, pale green image that resembles an erect rider atop a horse in Medieval-like barding. The ethereal figure remains for a few moments before floating over protesters’ heads and off the screen.
"The last of the biblical Book of Revelation’s Four Horseman of the Apocalyse, the “pale rider” is said to be the bringer of death and the forerunner of “hell” on earth.
"The Book of Revelation refers to a time when “the Lamb” -- usually understood to be the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ -- opens the seven seals of a scroll of judgment. Each of the first four seals is accompanied by a horseman of a different color, each bringing a separate calamity.
"When the fourth seal is opened, Revelation 6:8 records, “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.”
"Is the image from Egypt a fulfillment of Revelation’s prophecy?
"Comments from the tens of thousands of viewers who have watched the video on YouTube express a wide array of opinion.
"Some claim the video’s “pale rider” is a sign and the greenish tint is somehow symbolic of Islam, while others insist the image has been added to the footage by editing technology. Still others point to three, trailing points of light in the footage that move away from the crowds at the same time and speed as the “horseman,” indicating that both the “rider” and the lights are merely smudges or reflections cast on the lens of a moving camera.
"One comment, from a viewer calling himself TheRhythmhawk, also tried to explain the “pale rider” and the trailing lights as simply lens reflections, but eventually concluded, “The image of the horseman leaves more questions than answers.”
I can not tell you if it is a quirk in the camera, or a purposely done trick. Or even something supernatural in nature or even perhaps man using a hologram. Perhaps it is Satan coming with his lying signs or wonders. Perhaps it is what it appears to be. I cannot say. Whatever it is, it is very convincing specter of a horse and rider. Strange indeed when you consider all the information above!
The four living creatures, who are associated in a special way with YEHOVAH’s purposes in the new creation, are definitely related to the action of the four horses and their riders. This further confirms the fact that what YEHOVAH has revealed to us here are the symbols of the four major spiritual agencies, whereby the character of this age has been largely determined. The first and greatest in its effect is the TRUE gospel (the WHITE horse) -- through which YEHOVAH God is acting upon the world directly through His Word and spirit. By the other three the effects of the Messiah’s coming into the world act upon it indirectly. For the strife and variance (the “sword”) which he said he would send throughout the earth (the RED horse), were provoked by the true gospel, and have always and everywhere followed in its wake. Likewise the powerful influence of the propagation of a commercialized and perverted gospel by Satan’s campaign of venomous lies, murderous heresies, suppression of the Scriptures and stirring up the hatred of governments against the true gospel (the BLACK horse), has led to the great harvest of the GREEN horse of DEATH and the GRAVE.
If you are at all observant you will realize that the color scheme of the horses shows a progression downward, ending in darkness and death. This, of course, is “according to the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2). But YEHOVAH God’s order reverses this. He finds us in a state of death and darkness, and raises us up to the brilliant light of His Holy Word, bringing us to the time when YEHOVAH “will wipe away every tear” from our eyes, and to the time when “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former thing have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). This is the time when YEHOVAH God the Father Himself will once again dwell with mankind, “and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God” (21:3).
Satan has done a superlative job, for even today the very Churches of God are thoroughly confused over the meaning of the Book of Revelation. Many believe the white horse and its rider represent false religion -- an interpretation that is thoroughly refuted by the Bible. Others believe that with Bin Laden and President Obama we have entered into the time of the red horse, while others believe it represents coming wars that will precede the end of the age. According to some the black horse represents famine or global inflation -- or a connection with the black uniformed SS troops of Nazi Germany!! The majority believe the green horse represents plague or pestilence -- but the original Greek does not say that! The word translated “plague” in some versions of the Bible is also translated “death” in others. Revelation 6:8 clearly defines the green horse by naming it “Death”! While plague or pestilence can certainly be the outcome of persecution by those promoting false religion, this is NOT the main thrust of the ride of the green horse. Only when you interpret scripture with scripture can the TRUTH regarding the four horsemen of the Apocalypse be revealed.
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
Hope of Israel Ministries