“I looked, and there in front of me was a *white horse” ~Revelation 6:2
“As we come to Revelation, chapter six, the scene shifts to earth, and the question naturally is: What happens on the earth when the church leaves? The Great Tribulation takes place, and that is the subject of chapters 6-18. The opening of the seven-sealed book is the subject specifically of chapter 6 through verse 1 of chapter 8. These seven seals open up the Great Tribulation Period. The Lord Jesus breaks the seals, and the four horses ride forth.
The important thing for us to keep before us is the One who is worthy to open this book. He is directing everything now. As we were told at the beginning, this is the Revelation, the unveiling, of Jesus Christ. He is no longer the High Priest, standing as intercessor, but He is now the executor of God’s will upon the earth as He opens the seals of the book. All the judgments of the Great Tribulation usher forth from the seals out of which come the trumpets, the persons, and the bowls.
The church will be delivered from this period of judgment because they are saved by the grace of God. Only those who reject the grace of God go into the Great Tribulation Period. There are certain factors that are brought into focus which increase the intensity and the ferocity of the Great Tribulation:
- The Holy Spirit will restrain evil no longer. Do I mean that He will leave the world? No, He won’t leave. He will take the church out of this world, but that does not mean He is going to leave. He will still be here, but He will not restrain evil any longer. In other words, man is going to have his little day during that period, and so is Satan.
- The true church, as light and salt, will be gone from the earth.
- The Devil knows he has but a short time. He is going to take advantage of it during this period, and God is going to give him free reign.
- Evil men will be free to carry out their nefarious plans. In other words, Antichrist will be able to take over this earth for a brief period of time.
- There will be direct judgment from God. We see that here in vs. 17, which says, “For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
I do not think that the Great Tribulation breaks suddenly like a great tornado. The opening of the seals is gradual, logical, chronological. They are opened one at a time. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb, takes the seven-sealed book, and He breaks the first seal. Christ is going to break all the seals one after another. He is in full charge, and every creature in heaven is moving at His command. So the four horsemen are now going to ride forth. He breaks each seal, and says, “Go.”
The Lord Jesus, the Lamb, opened the first seal and the first horseman on a white horse in Revelation 6:2 appeared, which likely refers to the Antichrist, who will be given authority and will conquer all who oppose him. The antichrist is the false imitator of the true Christ, who will also return on a white horse (Revelation 19:11-16).
Antichrist does not appear as a villain. After all, Satan’s angels are angels of light. He is not going to have horns or cloven feet. Rather, he is going to be the most attractive man the world has ever seen. They will elect him, and the world will acclaim him because he has come in his own name. But when he takes over, it sure is going to be bad for the world.
The Lamb broke open the second seal and a horseman on a red horse (Revelation 6:4) with a long sword and the authority to banish peace and bring anarchy to the earth was revealed. War and killing broke out everywhere.
The Lamb opened the third seal and I saw a third horseman, riding a black horse (Revelation 6:5-6) holding a pair of scales in his hand representing a world-wide famine.
When the fourth seal was broken, a rider on a pale horse was seen (Revelation 6:5-6). It’s rider was named Death, and Hades was close behind. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, plague; and by wild beasts of the earth!
The pale horse represents plague and pestilence that will stalk the earth. It also encompasses the possibility of germ warfare. Dr. Frank Holdman, head of the University of Tennessee’s bacteriological department, said, “While the greater part of a city’s population could be destroyed by an atomic bomb, the bacteria method might easily wipe out the entire population within a week.”
We have seen the riding of the four horsemen, and this follows exactly the pattern that the Lord Jesus gave while He was on the earth. In Matthew 24:5-8, in the Olivet Discourse, He said: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many [the white horse]. And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars [the red horse]: see that you are not troubled: for all these must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines [the black horse], and pestilences [the pale horse], and earthquakes, in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” This is the opening of the Great Tribulation!
*White – speaks of peace (the true prince of peace, Jesus, rides the white horse in Rev 19) but this is a false peace and a false rider coming in the name of peace in Rev 6 – the antichrist.
Red – the red colour speaks of bloodshed and war which is what this rider on the horse causes.
Black – pictures famine here. Used in Lam 4:4,8-9 to speak of the effects of famine.
Pale green, Ashen – the colour of death which is what this horseman brings.
~Information taken from J. Vernon McGee (Revelation 6-13) and gotquestions.org