Sunday, August 23, 2015
4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse #3 – Part 71 of Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
As we continue our study to determine the meaning of the symbolism of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, we will find the message contained within it. We know that historical documentation has proven that the visions were imparted to John between 50-60 A.D. The message contained in this chapter of Revelation confirms the message given in Daniel’s vision – 70th week…Daniel 9:27. The historian Josephus documents this information and we will delve into it in our next study series.
So 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…Rev. 6:5-6.
John must have been pretty shaken up by now from what he had seen behind the second seal, and may not have been to eager to view the contents of this third seal, but he watched solemnly while Jesus Christ opened it.
Behind this seal John sees a sleek black horse, proudly holding his head high, yet a sense of foreboding permeated the atmosphere, because he understood that the color black symbolized death and mourning. He must have been mortified as he watched this horrendous pronouncement against his people. He knew that Daniel’s 70-week vision had been faithfully fulfilled through the 69th week. Now he is seeing how the 70th week will be fulfilled.
The rider of the shiny black horse held in his hands a pair of scales – balances. Scales represent a means of ascertaining the weight of something – symbolizing the gravity (weight) of the prophecy. Israel had been weighed in the balances and was found wanting – spiritually bankrupt. This very grave assessment will result in vengeance, producing death and mourning – Wrath of the Lamb…Rev. 6:16.
God had given everything to Israel, His chosen people, but Israel had given nothing back to Him except their paganism (idolatry) and immorality. They had been takers – the scales were grossly out of balance. John knew that a denarius was payment for a full day of work in his day, so to equate it with the ingredients of one loaf of bread must have been incredulous to him.
Imagine today, if your wage is $200.00 a day, and you had to use it all to buy one loaf of bread, would this create a hardship for you? Very soon in Israel money, fame, or status would be useless in delivering them from this horrific war of famine and death – judgment.
At the end of the ominous black-horse prophecy we read…and do not harm the oil and wine. Of course, John knew immediately what this meant – do you? John knew that the temple priest placed oil and wine on the daily sacrifice to the Lord – the drink offering. But how does this admonishment pertain to the coming war?
The answer to this question will be answered in detail in our study of Daniel’s Seventy-week vision. For now we can understand that once the war begins, and Jerusalem is surrounded by Roman armies unable to escape, the priests locked behind the walls will be unable to preserve the oil and wine they need for the drink offering, let alone have any animals for the burnt sacrifice. We will find out that God has a special purpose for the timing of the cessation of these rituals, during the war of 70 A.D.
After Israel rejects God’s Son as a final, unblemished sacrificial offering for their sins, they continued their bloody animal sacrifices and drink offering. This was a rebuke to God – a thumb in His eye. They didn’t understand this act was a stench in His nostrils – and He would stop it permanently.
So I looked, and behold, a pale horse…and a 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 beasts of the earth…Rev. 6:8.
With much trepidation, John watches as Jesus Christ opens the 4th seal, which reveals the details of the coming war of judgment against Israel. John must have been horrified to see the horse behind the 4th seal – a pale horse – emaciated. The original Greek language describes the pale horse as greenish – dun-colored – which is a dull grayish brown. To summarize the green, gray, brown colors, a more accurate description of the pale horse would be – a pallid ghostly appearance.
This verse is full of esoteric language – what is it telling us? Stay tuned…
God’s sheep question the doctrines of men…sheeple follow without question…