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Who are the Four Horsemen?

After watching Dennis Quaid’s movie titled, the Four Horsemen, I decided to research the inspiration for some of the characters. The concept comes from the New Testament of the Christian Bible, and is meant to represent the Apocalypse , which many people believe is reference to the ‘end of the world’. In this article, you will learn a little bit about the horsemen.

It is chapter six of the Book of Revelation where the Four Horsemen make an appearance. Depending on who you speak to, the Four Horsemen represent something different. However, they are often paired with the concepts of War, Pestilence (or Conquest), Famine, and Death. They also serve as part of an apocalyptic vision where God summons and empowers the Four Horsemen to ‘punish’ the world. Each one comes to light (with individual acknowledgements) in Revelation.

The Four Horsemen each ride a horse with its own color. They each possess an attribute that gives way to their kind of character. While the Bible names the last of the Horsemen as Death, the remaining identities are harder to pinpoint. The Horsemen first appear in chapter 6 of Revelations when the Lamb (Jesus) opens the first four seals of a scroll with seven seals.

The first Horseman rides upon a white horse, carrying on his person a bow. Wearing a crown, he is often described as a conqueror. Some see the first Horseman as the Antichrist or in some circles , a world leader that the people blindly follow. Oftentimes, he is referred to as Pestilence.

The second Horseman rides a red horse and in his hand is a sword. Since the Bible states he has the power to eliminate peace and drive men to kill one another, he is often associated with war, killing, and slaughter.

Riding a black horse, the third Horseman carries scales in his possession. Often referred to as Famine, he holds a diverse role to different people. While he represents the unavailability of food, he also symbolizes the taking advantage of the poor or the unfair distribution of goods.

The last of the Horseman is Death, who rides a ‘pale horse’ that looks ill. With him, he is said to have Hades follow him, which is a representation of Hell.

Shrouded in mystery, the Four Horsemen have proven quite an interesting group. Throughout time, they appeared in text or art, especially during the medieval period and the Renaissance. Whether or not the interpretations of the Horsemen are correct, their reputations will surely keep us guessing on this hot topic debate.

Passages Associated with the Four Horsemen

The white horse appears with rider:

“(Rev 6:1-8 NIV) I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” {2} I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”

The red horse appears with rider:

“{3} When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” {4} Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.”

The black horse appears with rider:

“5} When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. {6} Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

The pale horse appears with rider:

“{7} When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” {8} I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.”