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The Cretans were renowned for their archery skills. The significance of the rider of the white horse holding a bow indicates the place of origin of the line of emperors ruling during this time. This group of emperors can be classed together under one and the same head and family whose origins were from Crete.

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According to this interpretation, this period in Roman history, remarkable, both at its commencement and at its close, illustrated the glory of the empire where its limits were extended, though not without occasional wars, which were always uniformly triumphant and successful on the frontiers. The triumphs of the Emperor Trajan, a Roman Alexander, added to the empire Dacia, Armenia, Mesopotamia and other provinces during the course of the first 20 years of the period, which deepened the impression on the minds of the barbarians of the invincibility of the Roman Empire.

Roman war progressed triumphantly into the invader's own territory, and the Parthian war was successfully ended by the total overthrow of those people. Roman conquest is demonstrated even in the most mighty of these wars, the Marcomannic succession of victories under the second Antonine unleashed on the German barbarians, driven into their forests and reduced to Roman submission.

In some commentaries to Bibles, the white Horseman is said to symbolize ordinary War, which may possibly be exercised on righteous grounds in decent manner, hence the white color, but still is devastating. The red Horseman see below then rather more specifically symbolizes Civil War.

The rider of the second horse is often taken to represent War [2] he is often pictured holding a sword upwards as though ready for battle [18] or mass slaughter. The color red, as well as the rider's possession of a great sword, suggests blood that is to be spilled. In military symbolism, swords held upward, especially crossed swords held upward, signify war and entering into battle. The second Horseman may represent civil war as opposed to the war of conquest that the first Horseman is sometimes said to bring.

According to Edward Bishop Elliott's interpretation of the Four Horsemen as symbolic prophecy of the history of the Roman Empire, the second seal is opened and the Roman nation that experienced joy, prosperity and triumph is made subject to the red horse which depicts war and bloodshed — civil war. Peace left the Roman Earth resulting in the killing of one another as insurrection crept into and permeated the Empire beginning shortly into the reign of the Emperor Commodus.

Elliott points out that Commodus , who had nothing to wish and everything to enjoy, that beloved son of Marcus Aurelius who ascended the throne with neither competitor to remove nor enemies to punish, became the slave of his attendants who gradually corrupted his mind. His cruelty degenerated into habit and became the ruling passion of his soul.


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Elliott further recites that, after the death of Commodus, a most turbulent period lasting 92 years unfolded during which time 32 emperors and 27 pretenders to the Empire hurled each other from the throne by incessant civil warfare. The sword was a natural, universal badge among the Romans, of the military profession. The apocalyptic figure indicated by the great sword indicated an undue authority and unnatural use of it. Military men in power, whose vocation was war and weapon the sword, rose by it and also fell.

The unrestrained military, no longer subject to the Senate, transformed the Empire into a system of pure military despotism. The third Horseman rides a black horse and is popularly understood to be Famine as the Horseman carries a pair of balances or weighing scales , indicating the way that bread would have been weighed during a famine. Of the Four Horsemen, the black horse and its rider are the only ones whose appearance is accompanied by a vocal pronunciation.

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John hears a voice, unidentified but coming from among the four living creatures , that speaks of the prices of wheat and barley, also saying "and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine ". This suggests that the black horse's famine is to drive up the price of grain but leave oil and wine supplies unaffected though out of reach of the ordinary worker.

One explanation for this is that grain crops would have been more naturally susceptible to famine years or locust plagues than olive trees and grapevines , which root more deeply. The statement might also suggest a continuing abundance of luxuries for the wealthy while staples, such as bread, are scarce, though not totally depleted; [21] such selective scarcity may result from injustice and the deliberate production of luxury crops for the wealthy over grain, as would have happened during the time Revelation was written.

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According to Edward Bishop Elliott's interpretation, through this third seal, the black horse is unleashed — aggravated distress and mourning. The balance in the rider's hand is not associated with a man's weighing out bits of bread in scanty measure for his family's eating but in association with the buying and selling of corn and other grains. The balance during the time of the apostle John's exile in Patmos was commonly a symbol of justice since it was used to weigh out the grains for a set price.

The balance of justice held in the hand of the rider of the black horse signified the aggravation of the other previous evil, the bloodstained red of the Roman aspect into the darker blackness of distress. In history, the Roman Empire suffered as a result of excessive taxation of its citizens. During the reign of Emperor Caracalla , whose sentiments were very different from the Antonines being inattentive, or rather averse, to the welfare of the people, he found himself under the necessity of gratifying the greed and excessive lifestyle which he had excited in the Army.

During his reign, he crushed every part of the empire under the weight of his iron scepter.

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Old as well as new taxes were at the same time levied in the provinces. In the course of this history, the land tax, the taxes for services and the heavy contributions of corn, wine, oil and meat were exacted from the provinces for the use of the court, army and capital.


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  • This noxious weed not totally eradicated again sprang up with the most luxurious growth and going forward darkened the Roman world with its deadly shade. In reality, the rise to power of the Emperor Maximin , whose cruelty was derived from a different source being raised as a barbarian from the district of Thrace, expanded the distress on the empire beyond the confines of the illustrious senators or bold adventurers who in the court or army exposed themselves to the whims of fortune.

    This tyrant, stimulated by the insatiable desires of the soldiers, attacked the public property at length. Every city of the empire was destined to purchase corn for the multitudes as well as supply expenses for the games. By the Emperor's authority, the whole mass of wealth was confiscated for use by the Imperial treasury — temples stripped of their most valuable offerings of gold, silver and statues which were melted down and coined into money.

    Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. The fourth and final Horseman is named Death. Unlike the other three, he is not described carrying a weapon or other object, instead he is followed by Hades the resting place of the dead.

    Based on uses of the word in ancient Greek medical literature, several scholars suggest that the color reflects the sickly pallor of a corpse. The verse beginning "they were given power over a fourth of the earth" is generally taken as referring to Death and Hades, [21] [34] although some commentators see it as applying to all four horsemen.

    This fourth, pale horse, was the personification of Death with Hades following him jaws open receiving the victims slain by Death. Its commission was to kill upon the Roman Earth with all of the four judgements of God — with sword, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. The deadly pale and livid appearance displays a hue symptomatic of approaching empire dissolution. According to Edward Bishop Elliott, an era in Roman history commencing within about 15 years after the death of Severus Alexander in AD [35] strongly marks every point of this terrible emblem.

    Edward Gibbon speaks of a period from the celebration of the great secular games by the Emperor Philip to the death of Gallienus in AD [36] as the 20 years of shame and misfortune, of confusion and calamity, as a time when the ruined empire approached the last and fatal moment of its dissolution.

    Every instant of time in every province of the Roman world was afflicted by military tyrants and barbarous invaders — the sword from within and without. According to Elliott, famine, the inevitable consequence of carnage and oppression, which demolished the produce of the present as well as the hope of future harvests, produced the environment for an epidemic of diseases, the effects of scanty and unwholesome food. That furious plague the Plague of Cyprian , which raged from the year to the year , continued without interruption in every province, city and almost every family in the empire.


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    • During a portion of this time, people died daily in Rome; and many towns that escaped the attacks of barbarians were entirely depopulated. For a time in the late s, the strength of Aurelian crushed the enemies of Rome, yet after his assassination certain of them revived.

      As for the wild beasts of the earth, according to Elliott, it is a well-known law of nature that they quickly occupy the scenes of waste and depopulation — where the reign of man fails and the reign of beasts begins. After the reign of Gallienus and 20 or 30 years had passed, the multiplication of the animals had risen to such an extent in parts of the empire that they made it a crying evil. One notable point of apparent difference between the prophecy and history might seem to be expressly limited to the fourth part of the Roman Earth, but in the history of the period the devastations of the pale horse extended over all.

      The fourth seal prophecy seems to mark the malignant climax of the evils of the two preceding seals to which no such limitation is attached. Turning to that remarkable reading in Jerome's Latin Vulgate which reads "over the four parts of the earth," [6]: Dividing from the central or Italian fourth, three great divisions of the Empire separated into the West, East and Illyricum under Posthumus, Aureolus and Zenobia respectively — divisions that were later legitimized by Diocletian.

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      Diocletian ended this long period of anarchy, but the succession of civil wars and invasions caused much suffering, disorder and crime which brought the empire into a state of moral lethargy from which it never recovered. Talent and art had become extinct in proportion to the desolation of the world.

      Some Christians interpret the Horsemen as a prophecy of a future Tribulation , [7] during which many on Earth will die as a result of multiple catastrophes. The Four Horsemen are the first in a series of "Seal" judgements. This is when God will judge the Earth, and is giving the World a chance to repent before they die. Elliott, the first seal, as revealed to John by the angel, was to signify what was to happen soon after John seeing the visions in Patmos and that the second, third and fourth seals in like manner were to have commencing dates each in chronological sequence following the preceding seal.

      Its general subject is the decline and fall, after a previous prosperous era, of the Empire of Heathen Rome. The first four seals of Revelation, represented by four horses and horsemen, are fixed to events, or changes, within the Roman Earth. Some modern scholars interpret Revelation from a preterist point of view, arguing that its prophecy and imagery apply only to the events of the first century of Christian history.

      Conquest carries a bow, and the Parthian Empire was at that time known for its mounted warriors and their skill with bow and arrow. Revelation's historical context may also influence the depiction of the black horse and its rider, Famine. In 92 AD, the Roman emperor Domitian attempted to curb excessive growth of grapevines and encourage grain cultivation instead, but there was major popular backlash against this effort, and it was abandoned. Famine's mission to make wheat and barley scarce but "hurt not the oil and the wine" could be an allusion to this episode. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe their first prophet, Joseph Smith , revealed that the book described by John "contains the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence" and that the seals describe these things for the seven thousand years of the Earth's temporal existence, each seal representing 1, years.

      McConkie taught, "The most transcendent happenings involved Enoch and his ministry. The third seal and black horse describe the period of ancient Joseph, son of Israel, who was sold into Egypt, and the famines that swept that period see Genesis 41 — 42 ; Abraham 1: The fourth seal and the pale horse are interpreted to represent the thousand years leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ , both the physical death brought about by great warring empires and the spiritual death through apostasy among the Lord's chosen people.

      American Protestant Evangelical interpreters regularly see ways in which the horsemen, and Revelation in general, speak to contemporary events. Some who believe Revelation applies to modern times can interpret the horses based on various ways their colors are used. Pastor Irvin Baxter Jr. Some equate the Four Horsemen with the angels of the four winds. Some speculate that when the imagery of the Seven Seals is compared to other eschatological descriptions throughout the Bible, the themes of the horsemen draw remarkable similarity to the events of the Olivet Discourse.

      With this perspective the horsemen represent the rise of false religions, false prophets and false messiahs; the increase of wars and rumours of wars; the escalation of natural disasters and famines; and the growth of persecution, martyrdom, betrayal and loss of faith. It may be assumed that when the tribulation begins, the peace is taken away, so their job is to terrify the places in which they patrol.

      The four living creatures of Revelation 4: In Revelation each of the living creatures summons a horseman, where in Ezekiel the living creatures follow wherever the spirit leads, without turning. A symbolic interpretation of the Four Horsemen links the riders to these judgments, or the similar judgments in 6: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the concept in the Christian Bible. For other uses, see Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse disambiguation. For other uses of the term "White Rider", see White rider.

      What happens when you discover Truth is a lie? Who is Vee and where did she come from? And what is the darkness the fae can see inside her? A bloody message and a series of murders leads to a search for a threat from the past. Instead, the Horsemen encounter something new and dangerous. The race is on to find out what the creatures are, where they came from, and how big a threat they are to an already chaotic world. Vee discovers using her powers has a strange effect on her relationship with the Horsemen. Although this pulls her closer to the guys, the conflict between Vee and Xander continues.

      But is the biggest conflict within himself? Thanks to their broken alliance with the fae, the Four Horseman and Vee must turn to others for help and are pulled deeper into the supernatural underworld.

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      The danger the world faces is greater than they imagined and someone is determined the Horsemen will fail. The threat to the Four Horsemen and the world continues, but now they have solid leads and are closer to uncovering who is behind the attacks. Vee and the Four become closer as barriers fall and trust grows, yet one person remains worried about what will happen if Vee reaches full power.

      What will happen if the only way forward for the Horsemen is an alliance with their enemies? The Four Horsemen are left reeling from their discovery that the world is threatened by something greater than anybody imagined.