The Fourth Seal — Revelation 6:7-8

In the breaking of the fourth seal John looked up and saw an ashen horse; and its rider’s name was Death; and one called Hades was following him.

An ashen horse. The ashen horse and its rider give us an image of death—or of dead bodies. And the one who follows him, Hades, tells us that all who die will soon stand before God and will be given a judgment of eternal hell. Thus, we may be sure that those who die under this seal are not believers; for when believers die, they will go straight to heaven to be with the Father.

What kind of death is this? First of all, we know that the rider (Death) and his follower (Hades) has the authority (or the power) granted to them from God to bring death to a fourth of the earth. Hence, death to around one billion people will be unavoidable and certain. Nothing will prevent it. And, from the text, death will come in four ways: with the sword, with famine, with death, and by wild beasts. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

The sword. At the time of this writing the sword was the main weapon used in battle. But in the Tribulation much greater and more deadly weapons will be used. There are literally thousands of modern weapons that have been used in war in the last few decades. Here is a list of some of the types of weapons we have now—which will probably be used in the Tribulation.

  • All kinds of rifles and shotguns
  • Handguns
  • Machine guns
  • Mines and claymores
  • Grenades
  • Grenade launchers
  • Rocket launchers
  • Antitank weapons
  • Mortars
  • Artillery weapons
  • Tanks
  • All types of aircraft: plans, jets, helicopters, and drones
  • Ships and submarines
  • Chemical weapons like napalm
  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Bombs: atomic, hydrogen, neutron, and nuclear.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)—now has the capability to be attached to many of our moving vehicles like tanks and drones.

With all of our modern weapons, today’s armies have the capability to reduce populations by tens of millions within hours.

Famine. Famine is basically wide-spread hunger caused by a lack of food due to inflation and war. We saw this in the black horse. This seal is an extension of that seal with even greater consequences—starvation to death.

Death. The Greek word here in verse eight is thanatoo, which in all cases of its use it means death.However, in the NIV it is translated plague, in the NASV and the RSV it is translated pestilence, and in the TLB and the NLT it is translated disease. Only in the KJV, the NKJV and in the ASV it is translated death. So obviously the different translators had a hard time with it. One commentator I read didn’t even include this third way of death. But I say, we must include it. This death must be different than the death by the sword, or by famine, or by wild beasts. My conclusion is that it is the kind of death that is not by war, by famine, or by wild beasts. I would say that it is death by a stroke, a heart attack, by any kind of disease, or maybe by some kind of an accident. But I will also say that whatever is the cause of it, it is ultimately brought about by the authority of God according to the punishment that He brings in this fourth seal.

Wild beasts. While some will say that wild beasts of the earth are to be taken symbolically, relating to the governments of men, and a few will say that it refers to the AIDS epidemic, because AIDS is a product of the green monkey virus; I think it is clear that we should take the term literally. There is no reason not to. In fact, it stands to reason that with so many dead or wounded bodies lying around everywhere, the wild beasts of the earth will take advantage of it—to feast on the bodies.

Normally, this would not happen. But I think once they get the taste of blood in their mouth, they will want more and more. I remember in my younger days on the farm, when one of our lambs or sheep got away from the flock, and a dog went after it, sometimes if they got the taste of blood, they would go crazy for more—and basically, they would turn into mad dogs. So, I can definitely see this happening in the Tribulation.

About Stephen Nielsen

I'm an author, a self publisher, and a painting contractor. I live in beautiful Minnesota, USA . Welcome to my blog site.
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