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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

April 07 2022

Famine and Death Follow War Revelation 6:5-8 “When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come and see." 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." When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see." So I looked, and behold, a pale 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.”

In Revelation 6:1-8, John recorded the opening of the first four seals; and as each seal was opened, one of the four living creatures summoned a rider on horses of different colors. We need to remember that horses in the Bible often represent God's activity on earth, the forces He uses to accomplish His divine purposes.

When the Lamb opens the third seal a rider on a black horse comes with scales in his hands. It appears that he is control of the distribution of food. Again, we believe this rider is representative of the Antichrist. The color black is often connected with famine (Jer. 14:1-2; Lam. 5:10). Famine and war go together. A shortage of food will always drive up prices and force the government to ration what is available. "To eat bread by weight" is a Jewish phrase indicating that food is scarce (Lev. 26:26). A penny (denarius) a day was a standard wage for laborers (Matt. 20:2) but, of course, it had much greater buying power than the common penny does today. A "measure" of wheat was about two pints, sufficient for the daily needs of one person. Ordinarily, in Roman times, a person could buy eight to twelve measures for a penny, and much more of barley, which was the cheaper grain. However, during the Tribulation, a man will have to work all day just to secure food for himself! There will be nothing for his family! At the same time, the rich will be enjoying plenty of oil and wine.

It is interesting to note, that recently our U.S. President has been warning us that a world-wide food shortage of food is about to happen because of the war in Ukraine. And it doesn’t take much imagination to see how after the Antichrist has taken control of the world, he will be able to control the world’s economy as he promises to feed the hungry masses. Later in Revelation 13:17, we will see that unless someone takes the “mark of the beast” which is a number, they can neither buy or sale.

When the Lamb opens the fourth seal John saw two personages: Death riding a pale horse and hades (the realm of the dead) following him. We know that Christ holds the keys of death and hades (Rev. 1:18), signifying that He is in final control. We later see (Rev. 20:14), that both death and hades will one day be cast into hell. Death claims the body, while hades claims the soul of the dead (Rev. 20:13). John saw both of these enemies going forth to claim their prey, armed with weapons of the sword, hunger, pestilence (death), and wild beasts. In ancient times, hunger, pestilence, and the ravages of beasts would be expected to accompany war (Take time to also read Jeremiah 15:2-4; 24:10; and Ezekiel 14:21).

Conquering tyrants who bring the world war, famine, and pestilence are certainly nothing new. Suffering people from the days of the Roman Empire to the most recent war in Ukraine can easily recognize anticipations of these four dreaded horsemen. This is why the Book of Revelation has been a source of encouragement to suffering believers throughout history. As they see the Lamb opening the seals, they realize that God is in control and that His purposes will be accomplished.

Especially with the recent world-wide pandemic of the coronavirus (pestilence), and the ravages and bloodshed of the war in Ukraine, we should realize the world is setting up, for what we are reading about here in Revelation six, to become a reality! We should be praying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 20:20) And then we should be doing everything we can to prepare those around us for His coming and eternity!

God bless!

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