Sinister Red, Black and Pale Horses

Read: Revelation 6:1-8; Matt.10:26-36

So do not be afraid of them. (Matt. 10:26 NIV)

This famous passage is often referenced in end-times literature. Some think the white horse means war, the red one bloodshed, the black one famine. This is not likely, since these plagues are listed directly under the fourth, the “pale” horse (v. 8). And yesterday, we saw why the Rider on the White Horse must be our Warrior-King riding out into the dark world to conquer. So, let’s look again.

The second horse is blood-red. The original word for sword (v. 4) is not a soldier’s weapon, but a hunting knife, used also for animal sacrifices. In Matthew 10:34, Jesus used this same word to warn his followers about severe persecution. The third horse is black. The rider carries scales, suggesting the marketplace, not famine. Economic persecution comes—as in Revelation 13:17—under which Christians could neither buy nor sell without the mark of the beast. Persecution has always closely followed missionary work. The fourth horse is pale, and represents death from famine, war, disease, and wild beasts (Ezek. 14:21). These plagues are common to sinners and saints in this enemy-occupied world.

It’s natural to fear the suffering that these horses represent, but in Matthew 10, Jesus himself encourages us. Suffering will come in this life, but God sees you, knows you, and cares for you. Look again to the Rider on the White Horse. Our strongest testimony is when we love and trust God in our suffering. —Ruth Siemens

As you pray, ask God for strength to trust him.

About the Author

Ruth Siemens

Ruth Siemens was a campus minister with IVCF/IFES, then started Global Opportunities to prepare professionals to work and witness in secular employment abroad.

This entry is part 8 of 30 in the series Revelation