Revelation Chapter 6:8
Revelation 6:8 – So I looked, and behold, a pale horse.
John describes the last horse as “chloros,” which is the Greek word for green. The same word is found in Mark 6:39, Revelation 8:7, and Revelation 9:4, to describe the color of grass and plants. The color green has a large spectrum. A horse the color of green grass doesn’t seem to fit the context of this horse being connected with death, as shown in the next section, which is probably why most translators call it a “pale” horse, being a greenish-yellow color.
Recall from Zechariah 6:3, it is probable the pale horse is the same kind as those described by Zechariah as sorrel, spotted, speckled, dappled, mottled, or grisled. John’s focus is on the color of the horse, while Zechariah’s focus is on the pattern of the horses. The horse to the right fits the descriptions given by both John and Zechariah:
The rider on the pale horse is given the name “Death.” This rider is often pictured as the “Grim Reaper,” a skeleton figure cloaked in black, carrying a large sickle. The “Grim Reaper” is prevalent in pop culture, having origins in mythology and paganism. Even so, “Death” appears as a real entity, as John describes him as the rider on the pale horse and Zechariah describes the riders of the horses as “spirits of Heaven” (Zechariah 6:5).
Death and the grave are found together in Scripture when referring to the physical death of the body:
Psalms 49:14 – Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them; the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.
Hades is the place for the souls in the heart of the earth:
Matthew 12:40 – For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Acts 2:31 – …concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
“Sheol” is Hebrew for “Hades” in the Greek. Isaiah personifies Shoel, or Hades:
Isaiah 38:18 – For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
These spiritual entities, together, show that judgment in the form of death is coming to the earth. During the Tribulation, those who are believers do not go to Hades, but to Heaven (Revelation 6:9-11, Revelation 7:9-15). We see that this judgment of death is on unbelievers because Hades is following Death, which is where lost souls go to await final judgment, before the second death in the lake of fire:
Revelation 20:13-14 – The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Recall from Revelation 1:18, Jesus has the keys of Death and Hades, which represents His power to release believers from their bondage because He paid the penalty for our death:
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 – So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, 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?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 6:8 – 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 scope of the white, red, and black horse is global. The pale horse is only given power to judge a fourth of the earth with the four severe judgments of God. These four judgments are found elsewhere in Scripture as follows:
|Revelation 6||Ezekiel 14||Ezekiel 5||Ezekiel 33||Jeremiah 15|
|Death||Pestilence||Pestilence & blood||Pestilence||Death|
|Beasts||Wild Beasts||Wild Beasts||Beasts||Beasts|
Click here for more on the four severe judgments of God.
Notice that the rider on the pale horse is given the same power as the riders on the red and black horses; the power to kill people by sword and famine. The variegated color of this horse may visibly show this manifold judgment of God, which includes some of the judgments of the solid colored horses. In other words, the solid colored horses only bear one type of judgment, but the variegated colored horse delivers multiples types of judgment. These judgments will exacerbate those same judgments brought by the previous horses to a fourth of the earth.
Some believe this passage indicates that a fourth of the world’s population will die at the hands of the fourth rider. However, the Greek word for “earth” is “gé,” which refers to soil or land, in contrast to “anthrópos” for “mankind” (Revelation 9:15). Correlations to the “Gog and Magog War” also support that a fourth of the world’s geography is in view, rather than the population. The fact that the inhabitants of Israel burn weapons for seven years, suggests this war will occur at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation (Ezekiel 39:9). Consider the following parallels between the Seal judgments and the “Gog and Magog War”:
|Seal Judgments||Gog and Magog War|
|False peace under diplomatic conquest (Revelation 6:2)||Israel believes they are living in “peace and safety” (Ezekiel 38:8)|
|Death by sword
|Every man’s sword will be against his brother (Ezekiel 38:21, Haggai 2:22)|
|Death by pestilence
|Judgment by pestilence
|Death by the beasts of the earth
|Devoured by beasts of the field
(Revelation 6:12 )
|Earthquake and cosmic disturbances
(Revelation 6:12-14 )
|God will shake Heaven and Earth
|Sun black as sackcloth and
moon like blood (Revelation 6:12)
|Sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood (Joel 2:31)|
|God’s wrath has come
|God’s wrath comes with fire
(Ezekiel 38:18-19, Zechariah 2:4-6)
As discussed in the “Gog and Magog War,” God will not only send destruction on Gog’s armies, but the damage will extend back to the attackers’ countries, particularly the coastlands (Ezekiel 39:6). In other words, it is not just the armies that will see destruction on the mountains of Israel, but also the land they come from. Indeed, the geography of the countries involved in the “Gog and Magog War” is roughly a quarter of the world’s landmass:
While the destruction on Gog’s army is first by fire, the fourth horse will ride out bringing more destruction by sword, hunger, pestilence, and beasts. As shown in Zechariah 6:6-7, these four severe judgments of God naturally follow war. War causes scarcity of resources and breeds pestilence. When natural resources dwindle, wild beasts begin to attack humans for food. The “Gog and Magog War” will be no different, but on a larger scale than ever before seen on Earth.
As an aside, there is another place in Scripture where we find the four severe judgments of God mentioned together. Interestingly, Eliphaz, one of Job’s not so understanding friends, mentions these judgments as a form of chastisement:
Job 5:17-22 – “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole. He shall deliver you in six troubles, yes, in seven no evil shall touch you. In famine He shall redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, and you shall not be afraid of destruction when it comes. You shall laugh at destruction and famine, and you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth.”
Job’s friends were wrong about a lot of things. Here Eliphaz confused chastisement with God’s judgment and wrath. However, a believer in the Tribulation period could find comfort in this passage. I find the mention of seven “troubles” interesting, in light of the seven years of Tribulation, in addition to the four severe judgments listed here that occur at the breaking of the fourth of seven seals. No matter what physically happens to the Tribulation Saints, God will restore them (Revelation 7:13-17, Revelation 20:4).
Some might wonder why there are only four horses, instead of seven in the Seal judgments. The answer lies in the number “four” and its significance. Recall from our introduction to the four living creatures (Revelation 4:6), the number “four” relates to the earth:
|The number “four”||Scripture reference|
|Four cardinal directions
(West, East, North, South)
|Four corners and four winds||Revelation 7:1|
|Four elements separated in the first four days of creation (Solid, liquid, and gaseous material & fire)||Genesis 1:1-19|
|Four divisions of the day
(Morning, day, evening, night)
|Four seasons of the year
(Seed, summer, harvest, winter)
|Four watches of the night||Matthew 14:25, Mark 6:48,
|Four phases or ordinances of the moon||Jeremiah 31:35|
|Four kinds of creatures made for earth
(Sea, air, ground, and man as head over them)
|Four types of creatures named by Adam
(Domesticated, birds, wild beasts, and man)
|Genesis 2:19, 23 & 3:20|
|Four descriptions of man
(Tribe, tongue, people, nation)
|Revelation 5:9, 7:9, 11:9, 14:6|
|Four global empires that ruled Jerusalem
(Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman)
In Revelation 4:7 , we saw Israel’s tribes divided into four camps, patterned after the four living creatures in Heaven:
|Creature||Likeness||Tribe||Direction in camp|
|1st Living Creature||Lion||Judah||East|
|2nd Living Creature||Calf/Bull/Ox||Ephraim||West|
|3rd Living Creature||Man||Reuben||South|
|4th Living Creature||Flying Eagle||Dan||North|
These four living creatures announce the arrival of four horses and horsemen riding in judgment. The fourth horse brings the “four severe judgments” of God:
|Color of Horse||Color meaning||Judgment on Earth||The spirit riding on the horse|
(Revelation 6:2 )
|False peace, conquest of the antichrist||Lawlessness/Conquest|
|Peace taken from the earth by the sword||War|
|Black Horse||Famine, desolation (Jeremiah 4:27-28, Lamentations 4:8-9)||Famine||Famine|
|Pale Green Horse||Death
(Revelation 6:8 )
|Death by the sword, famine, pestilence, and beasts||Death followed by Hades|
Note the following correlations to the first four days of creation with the four horses:
|Color of Horse||White Horse||Red Horse||Black Horse||Pale Green Horse|
|Judgment on Earth||False peace, conquest of the antichrist||Peace taken from the earth by the sword||Famine||Death by the sword, famine, pestilence, and beasts|
|Day of Creation||Day 1 – Division of light and darkness||Day 2 – Division of waters||Day 3 – Plant life||Day 4 – Division of day and night and the seasons|
The antichrist is the tool God uses to divide the children of light from the children of darkness (John 8:12) in the Tribulation period. Global war will cause chaos and division among the “waters,” or Gentile nations (Revelation 17:15), which will allow the antichrist to form his global government. Famine occurs due to reduced availability of plants for food. The animals eaten as food also depend on the grain of the land to thrive. All life is dependent on the sun and the seasons.
Note the antitypes to Christ and the four horses:
|Color of Horse||White Horse||Red Horse||Black Horse||Pale Green Horse|
|Spirit of Judgment||Lawlessness/Conquest||War/Bloodshed||Famine||Death|
|Christ||Sovereign God of order||Sacrificed Himself||Is the bread of life||Has the keys over Death and Hades|
Below are parallels of the four living creatures to Christ and the four Gospels accounts:
|Creature||1st Living Creature||2nd Living Creature||3rd Living Creature||4th Living Creature|
|Type of creature||Beasts||Domesticated||Human||Birds of the air|
|Gospel Theme||Heir to the throne of David||Servant/Sacrifice||Son of Man||Kingdom of Heaven|
|Role of Christ||King of Kings||Messiah/Savior||Kinsmen Redeemer||Divine/Creator|
Let’s recap. Jesus, the Creator, has opened the first four seals of the “purchase deed” to the earth. The four living creatures, which bear the likeness of the creatures on the earth and the tribal camps of Israel, announce the first four judgments on the earth. The four horses have parallels back to the first four days of creation. Christ Himself has parallels back to the four living creatures, with antitypes to the four horses. In other words, the number “four” represents the Creator and Creation in Scripture.
It is no surprise that we find the number “four” replete in the “purchase deed” of the earth, which is really a deed to the creation. As we will see, a shift in focus of judgment on the earth in the first four seals extends to the spiritual realm in the last three seals. Incidentally, the number three means complete, or divine, as shown in the study: “Prophetic Pattern in Numbers,” which fits the focus of the last three Seal judgments.
The Fourth Seal; “A Pale Horse” Or “Ashen”, the Greek word from which the English word “chlorophyll’ comes, describes the pale, ashen-green, pallor characteristic of the decomposition of a corpse. God grants this horseman the authority to bring death to 25% of the world’s population.
“Hell”: Or hades, the place of the dead, which is identified as a common and fitting partner for death (20:13; see note on 1:18). This horse represents death.
John says the rider who sat on this horse “was Death, and Hell followed with him. One quarter of the earth’s population, almost two billion people, will die as a result of a WWIII war.
I believe that this has to do with wars, such as the one in Israel now, famine and drought worldwide, and death from hundreds of other things. An example is the plant in Russia, Chernobyl, which exploded. “Chernobyl” means wormwood. The Bible says a third of water will become wormwood (Rev. 8:11). I really believe this happens later in the scenario.
That Hades follows Death shows that those slain are unbelievers, for upon death believers do not go to Hades but straight to the Savior’s side.
This “pale” here, means a sickly color, a sickly green color, as if sick to the death. “Death, and Hell” are grouped, meaning a termination of earthly dwelling. Death is inevitable for every one of us. Death of the body, that is. Hell does await some, but heaven awaits Christians. Hell is sometimes a word used for the grave. In that particular instance, Hell would follow death, because the bodies of the unrepentant will lie in the grave until resurrection day. Believers would immediately go to heaven and be “under the altar”.
I really believe this is a time in the end that is spoken of as a time when men’s hearts will fail them for fear of things that are coming upon the earth (Luke 21:26). We have the capability to knock the earth off of its axis with the nuclear bombs. Fear is rampant, not only here in the U.S., but around the world. All it would take is for one crazy man to push the wrong button and total destruction could occur.
Satan takes peace from the earth, but Christians have THE PEACE, Jesus, in the midst of the problems. In Matthew;
Matthew 24:7 “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
Matthew 24:13, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
image courtesy: Revelation 6-8 A Pale Horse & Death – perfect ways
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.