The Four Horsemen and the Unveiling
Updated: May 17
Welcome to the fourth key. Even though I try to avoid the topic of eschatology, I knew that this particular key had to address it. After all, an 'apocalypse' doesn't mean anything more than an unveiling - disclosure of something that was hidden. It's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the Buddha Siddartha once said "there are three things that cannot be hidden for long... the Sun, the Moon, and the Truth."
Most readers of this key will likely be somewhat familiar with the four horsemen of the Biblical book of Revelations. There are a few problems which arise when discussing this book. The first problem is that nobody can verify who the author was, although most scholars speculate that it's the work of an exiled, Greek Christian named 'John of Patmos'. The second problem is that the mysterious and allegorical nature of the chapter raises more questions than it answers. This leads to the third problem, which is the chapter's interpretations by conspiracy theorists and religious fanatics. For centuries, many people have claimed to decipher the hidden meanings of this book. To sum it up briefly, it describes the end of an age and various cataclysmic events announcing the second coming of Jesus Christ as a vengeful demi-god bent on destruction, joined by his celestial army. Tyrannical ? You decide.
Ironically, as I write this, many scholars are proclaiming that the events described in the chapter - particularly the four horsemen - are already taking place. There are some undeniable analogies that are worth discussing, so I will focus on these horsemen, what they represent, and how they may correlate to modern events. This is my interpretation as someone who does not embrace Christianity nor its biased interpretation, so you as the reader have been warned ! Let's begin with the verse regarding the first horseman...
"The next thing I saw was this. When the lamb had opened one of the seven seals, I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’ 2 And, as I watched, there was a white horse. Its rider was holding a bow. He was given a crown, and he went off winning victories, and to win more of them." (Revelation 6: 1-2) This horseman is commonly referred to the 'anti-christ' in Christian eschatology. It represents someone who holds a lot of political and/or economic power, and also power to influence. Since he would be "winning victories" in this modern age, he would likely be somebody with heavy media-presence, vast financial resources and a global agenda. In our current age, large-scale wars are no longer fought with military might, but through economics and cyber warfare. The bow he carries represents the power to weaponize something and win victories, politically or otherwise.
"When the lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, ‘Come!’ 4 And another horse went out, fiery red this time. Its rider was given permission to take peace away from the earth, so that people would kill one another. He was given a great sword." (Revelation 6: 3-4) I think it's very important here to note that the actual horse of this rider is described as 'fiery red' - the color which happens to represent conflict, and the planet Mars. Ironically, a sword is often a symbol of truth, but the rider of this horse either instigates or directly causes conflicts. Wars around the world are fought for various reasons, but in modern times, there's almost always an ulterior motive behind them. A shrewd and cunning politician or military leader would convince masses that any war is necessary and worth the sacrifices. Although this horseman doesn't seem to represent any particular person, but rather an influence. It stands to reason that one man alone cannot cause global conflicts, that is, unless he were to instigate a nuclear war. In that case, we wouldn't need to worry much about eschatology or this blog !
"When the lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come!’ As I watched, there was a black horse. Its rider held a pair of scales in his hand. 6 I heard something like a voice coming from the midst of the four living creatures. ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius!’ said the voice. ‘And three quarts of barley for a denarius! But don’t ruin the oil and the wine!’" (Revelation 6: 5-6) When I read this verse, one thing is very clear - it's talking about the value of foods, which are essential goods ! The denarius mentioned above was a Greek form of currency. Scales represent a distribution of these essentials, and likely an unfair distribution. It's worth noting that the industrialization of food would be something that developed with western civilization. Before the invention of currency, trade and barter existed. Oil and wine are mentioned because in the time this book was written, these things were very valuable. Oil was necessary for cooking and lighting lamps. Wine had medicinal value when it wasn't abused. Clearly, unequal or unjust distribution of essential goods seems to be the theme here. Call me a socialist - I consider it a compliment.
"When the lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come!’ 8 As I looked, there was a pale horse, and its rider’s name was Death. Hades followed along behind him. They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with famine, and with death, and by means of earth’s wild animals." (Revelation 6: 7-8)
This verse explicitly mentions the fourth rider directly - death. The verse also mentions Hades, who comes from the Greek tradition, although Hades doesn't ride a horse. Perhaps since he is lord of the underworld, he doesn't need a horse to travel ? Anyhow, this rider seems to sum up the powers or attributes of the previous ones, with the power or authority to kill by means of conflict, famine and disease. It's very peculiar here that the last thing mentioned is wild animals. In modern times, most of our contact is with domesticated animals.
Since this fourth key is meant to focus on the four horsemen of this chapter, I won't delve into the rest of the book, which speaks of more judgments and tribulations, culminating in a holy war similar to the epic Mahabharata story from India. Unfortunately, the book of Revelation is hardly taken seriously because of its science-fiction like symbolism, and the bias that religious people use to assign politicians as the anti-christ. The 44th President of the U.S (Barack Obama) was often the target of this accusation. Once he finished his normal, 8 year term without fulfilling their interpretations, they focused their attention elsewhere. As I write this blog during a global pandemic and declining U.S economy, the book of Revelation takes on a deeper meaning and deserves a closer look. Are the biblical scholars correct ? Are the four horsemen riding across the Earth ? Are we living in the unveiling ? Well, I can only say that wherever there's an ending, there's also a new beginning.