Revelation 6:1-6 - Seals 1, 2, 3 (white, red, black horse)

Our Savior will not allow earth's final events to unfurl upon the world without warning the church.  Amos 3:7-8; Revelation 10   At least one third of the book of Revelation is dedicated to the preparedness of the saints for the time of trouble.  Once He has prepared us, Christ will recruit the church to participate in His mission of reconciliation of the world.  2 Corinthians 5:18-21  

The war between dark and light has been raging through the ages, but it will escalate in the time of the end.  Christ is recruiting a volunteer army of Christian soldiers and will arm them for spiritual battle.  Ephesians 6:10-19 

As soon as the Father gives the Book of Life to the Lamb, Jesus immediately begins removing the seals.  The winds of strife are caused by the Holy Spirit moving like the wind upon the earth.  John 3:7-8  The Spirit is being held back until God's own are ready.  Revelation 7:1-3 

Before the winds of strife can blow, Christ has a few details to attend regarding the church.  Seal 1-He must establish Himself as our conquering captain.  Seal 2-He must select our weaponry.  Seal 3-He must call His army to attention.  Once these things are accomplished, Seal 4-the winds of strife will blow upon the earth.  The first three seals accomplish the final preparation of the church.  The rider on the horses is Jesus coming to the church. The world will be unaware that the first three seals have even opened. The winds of strife are unleashed upon the world with the fourth seal.  (Please note, Elijah was taken to Heaven in a whirlwind created by the fiery chariot pulled by fiery horses.)  2 Kings 2:11

 1 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.

 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 people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

   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, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

 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.


Revelation 6:1-8

Bible students from every era have puzzled over these passages.  Our struggle and debate has been to determine who the rider of each horse is.  I think that may be the wrong first question.  The first question is, "What do the horses symbolize?"  I think this is the best place to start because the bible gives us this answer.  If we let the bible interpret itself, we will be provided with a more sure interpretation than that of a private understanding.  Also, knowing more about the horses will provide us with a more definitive identification of the rider.  Our first clue comes when we apply what we already know about horses.  The first thing we know is that even today we measure modes of transportation by horse power.  The second thing we know is that we describe horses by how much "spirit" they have.

Zechariah saw horses standing in the midst of some trees and asked the question, "What are these, my lord?"  The man standing in the trees said, "They are the ones the Lord has sent to go throughout the earth."  Zechariah 1:8-10; 6:1-5  God sends the horses.  The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit to travel throughout the earth.  Luke 11:13; John 3:34; 14:16, 26: 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 4:13  These horses represent the Holy Spirit. 

That is a strange teaching for some of you, but consider that God often uses animals to describe His character to us.  Most Christians accept that the lion and the lamb symbolize certain characteristics about Jesus.  The horse is one of the animals that represents the Spirit of God.  Many animals can run like the wind, but the horse is the one that will run like the wind carrying a rider on its back.  The wind is another representation of the Holy Spirit.  John 3:8

 1 I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. 2 The first chariot had red horses, the second black, 3 the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. 4 I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”

 5 The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world.  

Zechariah 6:1-5

The Holy Spirit is a seven fold spirit in the throne room of God.  Revelation 5:6  That is because He is the all powerful, all knowing, ever present God.  He completely represents the Father and the Son to the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.  However, in Zechariah He is represented as four spirits because He is going to the earth and will travel through all four cardinal directions; east, west, south and north.  We have many biblical examples of the horse representing the Spirit of God traveling to and from the earth. 

Elijah was taken to Heaven in the same chariot that Zechariah saw.  As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.  2 Kings 2:11 

The servant of Elisha was terrified when he saw the army of the King of Aram surrounding the city with horses and chariots.  Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see."  then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha2 Kings 6:17

When the army of Heaven, led by Jesus, comes to earth, they will be riding white horses.  These horses are the Spirit of God bringing the hosts of Heaven to earth.  Revelation 19:11-14  Until the industrial age, horses were the swiftest way to travel.  Since all the writers of the bible wrote before the age of industry, it is natural that they would use the swiftest ride of their day to represent the Spirit of God moving swiftly between Heaven and earth doing the will of the Son and the Father.  When Jesus comes, the Spirit of God will come with Him.  The relationship between the two is like a horse and its rider.  The horse is sent and guided by the rider.  The Spirit of God goes where the Son tells Him to go. 

It puzzles us that the Spirit of God could be so subservient to the Father and Son, but is also equal to the Father and Son.  Do not be puzzled by God's willingness to be a servant.  Jesus Himself came to serve mankind with a willing heart.  He bowed down before the feet of the disciples so they would know to do the same for one another.  God Himself kneeled down before Adam and breathed life into his nostrils before He ever asked us to serve Him.  In Heaven it is servitude that is the loftiest of positions.  We do not understand because this type of wisdom is not in our nature and is foreign to us unless the Spirit of God teaches us about these matters.

In the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was subservient to no one. Yet, from the foundation of the world, the lamb was slain to save the world. Before you knew you needed a savior, one was provided. The Word agreed to become a son in HIs own house. He agreed to become a faithful son, an only begotten son, to the Father sitting upon the throne. The Word willingly came down from the throne to the cross. This is when fatherhood and sonship was born. No greater love has any for another than to do this for a sinner such as myself.

In the beginning, the Spirit hovering over the waters agreed to be a servant to both the Father and the Son. The Spirit would teach us about the great sacrifice of the Son and guide us to the Father. He would agree to be "sent" like a servant. Yet, he also was subservient to no one. He would willingly always and forever go at the command of the Father and the Son to minister to mankind. Perhaps you now better understand why the kingdom is one of servitude. The greatest position in God's kindom is that of a servant.

Now that the bible has identified the horses as the Spirit of God, we are in a better position to determine the identification of the rider of the horse.  Who but God would direct the Spirit of God?  The rider of the horses can only be Jesus.  It is Jesus that will remove the seals from the book.  We resist this because the rider of the horses seem ominous and that is not how we perceive the meek and mild Jesus. Is it possible we do not know our Lord as well as we think? It is possible and that is why He is being revealed to John and the saints in The Revelation of Jesus.

When David fought Goliath, it was in answer to a challenge, and no other man but this child was worthy.  Goliath stood there and shouted, "Choose a man and have him come down to me.  If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us."  1 Samuel 17:8  Satan wants to kill our prince and retain all of us as subjects.  He does not like the plan to preserve us and wants to go to war over the matter.  Jesus is the man worthy to the task and has answered the challenge.  Revelation 5:2-5  That is why we see Jesus coming forth on the white horse.  He has already conquered death now He will challenge Satan's right to reign over us.  We can be certain of Christ's ability to conquer. There is a roaring lion seeking to destroy God's own, it is only fitting that the lion of the tribe of Judah will be equally fearless and ferocious. We need a hero!

God, and no one else is in control of the events that occur during the time of the end.  As each seal is removed, the planet and its people are affected. Plus, there is a direct connection between the four living creatures surrounding God's throne and the four horses. When the first seal is opened and the white horse is released, the first living creature with the face of a lion commands John to come and see. To increase your faith in Jesus as our conqueror, read the rest of this story.  Revelation 19:11-21


 1 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.

Revelation 6:1-2  

The rider on the white horse comes with two things:  a bow and a crown.  The crown is a stephanos, a crown of victory.  It is the same type of crown that the twenty-four elders are wearing.  Jesus now rules over the law of sin and death.  Of sin because he lived a sinless life.  Of death because he rose from the grave.  This crown becomes known as the crown of life and is the one that Christ gives to His own.  James 1:12; Revelation 2:10

Revelation 4 & 5 describe an incredible coronation of the lion of the tribe of Judah. He is worthy to receive the crown because he was a worthy sacrificial lamb that died but is alive. The first living creature has a face of a lion because it is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to all of mankind. He is the lion of the tribe of Judah, the one worthy to take the throne of David and as a descendent of mankind, to reclaim dominion lost by our forefather Adam while still in the garden. As a descendent of David is the worthy king the tribes of Israel have longed for. However, as a descendent of Adam, He is the desire of the nations...the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Holy Spirit shows His face of the lion to John so he and we will recognize the kingly role only Christ is worthy to fill.

It is this living creature with the face of the lion that shows the white horse and its rider to John. He tells him to come and see the work of Christ. Christ returns to claim dominion over our world and those that have made Him the King of their mind, heart and soul will receive Him at His coming. Those dead in Christ will rise and ascend when He calls their name. He will slay our enemies and we that are alive and remain after the rescue will ascend into the heavens to occupy the place He has gone to prepare for us.

The bow is Christ's weapon of choice because it signifies the Word of God.  God made a promise to the nations in the garden through Adam, through Noah and through Abraham.  Jesus came and spilled His righteous blood fulfilling the law of sin and death.  God gave His word that provision has been made for those that put their faith in Him.  He demonstrated His commitment to this covenant with His signature--the rainbow. Genesis 9:12-17 

Each time we see the rainbow in the sky, every man, woman and child of every nation and notion stops a moment and marvels.  For a space in time, we wonder about the universe and our place in it.  If you pause long enough the Spirit of God will reveal the truth to you regarding this matter.  It is Satan's desire to pervert that seal of God's contractual agreement with mankind, but those of us that know the truth declare the rainbow as evidence of our legal and binding agreement between us and our Holy God. 

This contractual agreement is binding in the court of Heaven providing us access to the throne.  We can come there with great confidence because our Father has already claimed us and waits eagerly for our arrival.  When Jesus comes with the rainbow, He comes with all the authority of Heaven.   Revelation 10:1-7  Jesus came the first time in the name of the Father and He will come again in the name of the Father. However, there is one coming in his own name and the whole world will be deceived. Wait for the coming with authority.



 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 people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.


Revelation 6:3-4 

The rider on the red horse comes with a sword that takes peace from the earth.  Jesus is the prince of peace so it is difficult for us to imagine Him wanting to take peace from the earth.  That is just counterintuitive regarding all we know about Jesus.  His house is to be a house of prayer for those seeking peace not found in this world. 

Israel needed a man of war, but God would not let His warrior build His house because He does not want to be at war with us.  He wants to reconcile us to Himself, but the world is mad at God.  King David was a man after God's own heart because he did not seek controversy, but when controversy came to him, he was a ready and able conqueror.  Jesus is like that.  He desires to be at peace with us, but he will battle for believers.  The time of the end is a time when like Israel, the saints will need a warrior king. 

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35 For I have come to turn

   “‘a man against his father,
   a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
   36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

Matthew 10:34-36

Jesus is the Word of God.  The Word of God is like a sharp, two-edged sword.  Hebrews 4:12  It will pierce your heart removing the heart of stone during the day of salvation, or it will slay you at His coming.  Revelation 19:15   The Word of God will cut you making you want to lash out.  The nature of mankind is to turn on those that deliver the Word of God.  You must resist this need to wound the messenger just because you do not like the message.  Examine yourself and discover if there is any truth to the message and embrace the emotional distress knowing that God can make you whole.  God would rather His Word wound you now than destroy you later.  Matthew 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-48 

Jesus did not send the disciples out into the world with weapons of steel.  Luke 10:3-4; Luke 22:49-51  Instead, He gave them a message and sent them to deliver the power of The Word.  He will do the same thing for the final generation.  The disciples were sowers of the word and the final generation will reap what they did not sow.  We will have the grand privilege of bringing in the sheaves.  He is our provision and our protection.  Your tongue is your weapon.  Settle it in your hearts that this message will be highly offensive to many and will cause them to despise the messenger. 

Satan will use weapons of force against God's own.  If we are to go into captivity, into captivity we will go.  If we are to be killed by the sword, with the sword we will be killed.  Revelation 13:10  However, the final victory is ours.  No matter what they do to this body, Christ can raise it in glory.

It is the work of the church to receive the Word of God.  It is also our great commission to deliver the Word of God to those that have never heard and have no desire to hear.  Matthew 28:18-20  The final generation will deliver this gospel in a grand manor that will sweep the continents even during a time of great duress.  Receiving the message will be a sweet reward for the saints, but the delivery will be a bitter experience because Satan is our adversary.  Revelation 10:8-11  It is not ours to determine if they are worthy of the message.  We were in our sins when God declared us worthy; therefore, it is not ours to judge while in this world.  No man is worthy, but one.  It is not our worth that defines our opportunity but God's grace.  God's graciousness toward us should move us with gratitude to make available the gift of God to those poor in spirit.

The second face of the living creature is that of an ox. In Jerusalem, a lambs were slain for individuals and families. However, before the great high priest could provide intercession for the nation, he must offer sacrifice for himself and the priesthood. On the Day of Atonement an ox was provided for the priesthood before the great high priest went into the Most Holy Place. Christ is this ox because He is the head of the priesthood. He was rejected in Jerusalem for this position because He did not descend from Levi. Therefore, we have the entire book of Hebrews which explains to us that is before Levi was, Christ was. His priesthood, the Melchizedek order is the true priesthood of all believers of which the Levitical priesthood merely foreshadowed. 

The living creature showing the face of the ox tells John to come, see, and remember the sacrificial role of the rider on the red horse. All believers enter into the kingdom via the cross. Consider the lives of the apostles. They were willing to put it all on the, livelihood, and life. This is the message to the church by the rider of the red horse. In preparing you for the final battle much truth will be unveiled to the final generation of believers. If truth has been unfolding throughout the ages, the truth tapesty of the last days will be the most revealing. The sharing of Christ's truth will cause the darkness to rise against the light. Hatred will abound even in your own household. This truth will cause division within families and nations. Church, settle these things in your heart and mind.


   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, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

Revelation 6:5-6 

The rider on the black horse has a pair of scales.  The scales represent judgment.  Judgment begins in the house of God.  1 Peter 4:17  Before the world experiences judgment through the winds of strife, the house of God is judged.  The judgment of the house of God results in workers for the harvesting of His field, the world.  The harvest of the world will begin once the winds of strife are turned lose.  God is calling for harvesters.  All His house wants to stay around His table; therefore, few will go and work in God's fields.  Luke 10:2  It is an honor to be a harvester.  Even the angels of Heaven will join us in working during the harvest. He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.  Matthew 13:37-39

What are the wages for working in the harvest?  It is a denarius (penny) or a day's wages.  It doesn't matter if you work the entire day, show up at noon and work until quitting time, or if you only work the last hour; your wages will be the same--a full day's wages.  Matthew 20:1-16  Those who care more for creature comforts for themselves than they care for lost souls will grumble about this payment system.  However, the wages indicate that God will impart a full measure to all of His children.  None of us will do without in the kingdom to come.  God's house has unlimited resources so join in the harvest compelling others to enter in.

The mention of grain in these passages has long been considered to represent the famine of the last days.  There will be famine in the last days, both for food and the Word of God.  The rider on the pale horse, which comes next, brings famine.  However, the rider on the black horse does not bring famine, He initiates the harvest.  First in the house of God, then in the world.  1 Peter 4:17  In Israel, the harvest of grain begins in the spring during the season of Passover.  The barley is harvested first beginning with First Fruits.  Then the wheat is harvested fifty days later on Pentecost.  Pentecost is also known as Ingathering, a time set aside to bring in the sheaves.  Many of us sing a song about bringing in the sheaves.  It is a time of rejoicing because our redemption is drawing very near.  Luke 21:28

Of course, Satan is going to resist this harvest.  He desires to destroy the harvest.  However, God will empower His people that have agreed to work in the fields.  He will compensate us for our labor and equip us to do the job.  He will anoint us in a manner similar to the experience of the 120 believers in the upper room.  He will poor His Spirit on us by annointing us with the oil and the wine.  The Spirit of God will flow through us empowering us to deliver the message of repentance and reconciliation to the world.  The oil and the wine represent the power that God longs to deliver to us.

We are clay vessels, easily broken and of little value to the world.  Yet, God paid an incredibly high price as our redeemer kinsman.  He bought us back from the one that enslaved us.  He can turn this clay vessel into a light that shines in a dark place.  Remember Gideon?   Judges 6-8   When the clay vessel is broken, God will demonstrate His great power through our weakness.  How does He strengthen the clay vessel?  He anoints it with oil and wine and not only is the clay vessel stronger, it is changed.

Who did Samuel anoint with oil?  The kings of Israel.  1 Samuel 10:1; 16:1, 13   We will rule in God's kingdom because Christ has made us kings and priests, but we only have the wisdom to rule when the Spirit of God resides within us.  Only those who partake in the hardships of the kingdom today will rule in the kingdom tomorrow.  The dominion of this world was given to mankind by God in the garden.  We must be willing to challenge the prince of this dark world if we want the right to reign with Christ.  Revelation 1:5-6; 5:10

Who drank the wine?  The priests when they entered the holy place to do the work of God.  In fact, today we drink the wine during communion as the Lord Jesus commanded us to do because we are a priesthood of believers doing the work of the Lord.  Matthew 26:27-29; 1 Peter 2:5-9

The oil and the wine are representative of the power that God longs to impart to His own.  He will empower us with the Holy Spirit and His Word.  The oil represents the outpouring of the Spirit.  The wine represents the teachings that the Spirit of God will deliver to us if we will drink from the cup.  Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 2:12-13  Once you have the Spirit of God and the Word of God, you are an able witness to the world.  Without it, you are just an old clay vessel. 

Of course Satan will resist the harvest of the world.  He wants the wheat to perish.  The wheat will rot from ignorance.  That is where we come in.  We have the divine opportunity to share the word of God with all that have ears to hear.  We are messengers empowered to participate in the reconciliation of the world.   All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  2 Corinthians 5:18-20

What is the reconciliation of the world?  It is Satan's work to persuade us that God is mad at us and is our enemy.  The scriptures teach the truth.  Satan, our enemy, has persuaded us to be mad at God.  However, God longs to reconcile us to Himself.  He longs to be at peace with us and is extending the olive branch to us today.  Satan will work to keep the peace treaties from happening because he knows God is mad at him for bringing lies and murder into the world.  John 8:44; 1 John 3:8; Matthew 25:41  Christ is the one, true mediator between God and man.  He will work through His church to deliver the message of mediation because the prince of this dark world resists the message and refuses delivery.  God has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  2 Corinthians 5:18-21  He has placed great confidence in us by entrusting this message to us.  Lives are depending upon us to complete our tasks!

The rider on the white horse represents the midnight cry to the church.  He is letting the church know that He is coming.  However, He will delay His coming to offer reconciliation to the world.  The wise virgins get up and do the work of the harvest while the foolish virgins wonder what is going on.  Matthew 25:1-13  The rider on the red horse gives greater understanding to the wise virgins who then receive even more oil (Holy Spirit) and wine (truth) from the rider on the black horse as they prepare for the judgment of the world because the souls resisting reconciliation, remain in condemnation. Your words can release many.

The face of the living creature telling John to come and see the black horse is that of a man. Man can only be redeemed by one of our own...a redeemer kinsman. Jesus is this man. He is the only worthy man. Belshazzar and the Babylonians were weighed in the balance and found wanting. The rider of the black horse carries scales bringing a message to the church. You are being weighed in the balance.

Only those willing to go and work in my fields will find favor. We have the privilege to join Christ in the redemption of the final ages. Be a righteous, interceding priest in His priesthood or forever part with your place. Warn the world of coming judgment because they will soon be weighed in the balance. Tell the world to claim the One that has already tipped the balance of the scales in their favor if they will receive it.

Note that the world is not condemned by Jesus or the church. They are already in condemnation by the accuser of the brothers (Satan). Revelation 12:10  Condemnation burdens the soul and makes us mad at God. Those that love God are prepared to deliver a message of peace that offers reconciliation to those wihout hope. Once the church is prepared, the winds of strife will blow. The Spirit of God will stir up the inhabitants of the earth by sending judgment upon our planet. The elements will stir and impact our environment during a time when we are actively engaged in our best efforts to save our planet. This will get our attention. It is sad we have left God without recourse. Providing us with plenty does not prove us appreciative. Here comes the dreaded pale horse!


 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.


Revelation 6:7-8 

The rider on the pale horse sends the winds of strife manifested in four things:  sword, famine, plagues and wild beasts.  The rider on this horse has a name--Death.  The grave follows this rider wherever He goes.  Jesus is the life and the resurrection; therefore, it is hard to put Him on this horse.  However, if the horse is the Spirit of God, who can ride this horse?  Please continue to study with me as we learn much more about the rider of this horse and the four judgments as we study about the reconciliation of the world.  Learn more. . .

Posted by Brad L. on 11-09-2018
When I read this passage in Rev 5 & 6 regarding the seals, riders and horses and their meanings, my first question is asking what is the answer to the question in Rev 5.2? The opening of the seals must reveal the answer to the most important question of all. It is the basis for my redemption. Of course we know WHO is worthy. I believe the WHY is demonstrated in the opening of the seals.
Posted by D A Cleland on 06-06-2018
Wow at long last (after searching the internet for a very long time!......) someone else has searched THE WORD ITSELF for interpretation and have come to the very same conclusions as me. This is such a blessing to me as I have had so many that have come against me because of what I have put forward in my book about the Four Horsemen. Here is what I have found out which lines up very closely with this presentation. Thank you so much. (even a little tear in my eye)
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