The ‘four horsemen of the Apocalypse’ in Revelation 6 have been the focus of our study for the past three weeks. Each horseman was loosed by the breaking of a seal by our Lord, Jesus Christ. In case you have not been read the three previous lessons, I encourage you to use these links and go do that before you read today’s lesson.
In the first post (Seal and Horseman #1, you will also find a FREE download. It is a drawing by my friend, Lisa, of the events of Revelation 6. For the visual learner, these drawings are mighty helpful.
Okay, let’s dive into our study for today. Here is our Revelation 6 passage. Revelation 6: 7-8 (ESV)
7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”
8 And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.
Whew! As if the first three riders did not paint a grim enough picture, now we have a rider named Death, and his sidekick, Hades. You can be sure this will not have a good outcome.
A pale horse. The Greek word used for ‘pale’ means greenish, probably referring to the color of a person’s skin when they are dead. The horse’s rider is Death, with Hades, or Hell, as his companion. Death takes the body, while Hell takes the souls of those who do not know Jesus, so these two villains work in concert with each other.
Can you see a natural progression that occurs as each successive seal is opened? Seal 1 allowed the antichrist to conquer. Seal 2 brought war and violence to the earth. Seal 3 brought famine, while Seal 4 encompasses all of the desolations of Seals 1-3, plus the addition of wild animals.
The opening of this fourth seal brings widespread death to the earth. Consider the implications of a fourth of the earth dying. The current population of the planet is 7.4 BILLION people. The number of people that would perish if one-fourth of the earth died is 1.85 BILLION. That is 1,850,000,000. The United States has a population of 324 million, while China has a population of 1.3 billion currently. Can you comprehend the devastation that would be present if 1.85 billion people died? Governments would be impacted. Social services like water treatment and sanitation would be stretched beyond their limits. Medical care would be severely limited. Everything would be impacted. Everything! Simply dealing with that many dead and decaying bodies would be a horrific undertaking. Diseases caused by decaying bodies would kill untold numbers of people. The whole thing is, frankly, unimaginable. But it will happen according to Revelation 6.
Obviously, it is easy to figure out that Seal 4 has not been broken yet. At best, I think we can assume that Seal 1 might have already been broken, but Seals 2, 3, and 4 are likely yet to come. AND I cannot even know for sure that Seal 1 has been broken. This is one of those things we simply have to trust God about.
Next week we will move on to the opening of the 5th seal. Until then, let’s talk about what we have learned today.
- Did you learn anything today that challenged or strengthened your faith?
- What are your thoughts about the opening of Seals 1-4? Do you think any have been opened yet? Are we living in the age of any of the seals?