The Prophet Zechariah was the first to see the Four Horses of the Apocalypse moving with speed and shaking the nations. The white, red, black and pale horses contain prophetic symbolism for the end of the world. In the Book of Revelation, the four horses of the apocalypse are revealed during the opening of the seven seals (Zechariah 6:1-8, Revelation 6:1-8).
I looked and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer– Revelation 6:2
The White Horse: Conquering Hearts with the Gospel
The White Horse represents Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords going out conquering to conquer. The Lord rides on a pure horse, the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. There is purity in the gospel. Salvation and redemption are offered to all who will repent during the Tribulation period. This is why Christ will stay ahead of the three terrible horses of conflict, shortages, famine and death. The offer of salvation must come first (Revelation 6:1-2).
The Red Horse: Great Conflict
Humanity will learn how terrible it is to hate others. Peace will flee with wars, genocide and terror (Revelation 6:3-4).
The Black Horse: Death Through Famine
This will be a time of great scarcity. When John received this revelation, a denarius was the daily wage for a working man. He predicts prices will rise tenfold for essential goods. However, the rich will still have their luxuries, such as the ‘oil and wine,’ representing wealth (Revelation 6:5-6).
The Pale Horse: Widespread Death
Plagues and pandemics will lead to the demise of twenty-five percent of the population. Science will find no cure. Death will take the bodies, Hades the soul (Revelation 6:7-8).
The 1887 painting Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by the Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926) conveys the magnitude of St John’s revelation. We witness Christ, as the Lamb of God, looking down from Heaven and His angels are watching in the background. Great empires and powers are collapsing under the weight of the Tribulation, and kings are reduced to dust. The Moon is turned to blood and referencing Zechariah, wild animals are seen attacking people. From the right, he interprets the white horse as conquest, followed by war, famine and the menace of death. Viktor Vasnetsov is regarded as the co-founder of Russian folklorist and romantic nationalistic painting. Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture retains this piece in Moscow.