Saturday, 21 November 2020
When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. Revelation 6:5
Now, the focus goes from the red horse and its rider to the scroll as John says, “When He opened the third seal.” More judgment can be anticipated. The world rejected the offering of God in Christ, and now – for a third time – a form of judgment will be unleashed. Following the pattern already set, John says, “I heard the third living creature.” This would be the one resembling a man (verse 4:7). He speaks forth, “Come and see.”
Like the previous two seals, manuscripts vary here. Rather than, “Come and see,” as if a command to John, other manuscripts simply say, “Come.” This would be a calling forth of the entity held by the seal. This appears to be the more likely translation, it is a call for the entity to come forth, and thus to go out, like with the first two seals. With the call, John’s attention is redirected – “So I looked, and behold, a black horse.”
Black. It is the color of famine and of mourning. For example –
“For this shall the earth mourn,
And the heavens above be black,
Because I have spoken.
I have purposed and will not relent,
Nor will I turn back from it.” Jeremiah 4:28
“Her Nazirites were brighter than snow
And whiter than milk;
They were more ruddy in body than rubies,
Like sapphire in their appearance.
8 Now their appearance is blacker than soot;
They go unrecognized in the streets;
Their skin clings to their bones,
It has become as dry as wood.” Lamentations 4:7, 8
“You have said,
‘It is useless to serve God;
What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance,
And that we have walked as mourners [literally: blackly]
Before the Lord of hosts?’” Malachi 3:14
These, and other examples, give us a Scriptural view of what this black horse portrays. With this understanding, John says, “and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.” Of the scales, Vincent’s Word Studies notes, “Properly, anything which joins two bodies; hence a yoke (Matthew 11:29; Acts 15:10). The cross-beam of the loom, to which the warp was fixed; the thwarts joining the opposite sides of a ship; the beam of the balance, and hence the balance itself. The judgment of this seal is scarcity, of which the balance is a symbol, representing the time when food is doled out by weight.”
An example of this is found in Leviticus 26:26 –
“When I have cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back your bread by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.”
Another in Ezekiel 4:16, 17 –
“Moreover He said to me, ‘Son of man, surely I will cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and shall drink water by measure and with dread, 17 that they may lack bread and water, and be dismayed with one another, and waste away because of their iniquity.’”
This weighing out of food, however, may extend beyond simple famine to the abuse of what is readily available. In other words, extorting wealth from others so that they can simply survive. This is seen in Hosea –
“A cunning Canaanite!
Deceitful scales are in his hand;
He loves to oppress.” Hosea 12:7
In the end, deprivation awaits those who enter the tribulation period. It will be a terrible time on earth. Following on from the quotation from Lamentations above, Jeremiah notes the horrifying state of dying of famine –
“Those slain by the sword are better off
Than those who die of hunger;
For these pine away,
Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of the compassionate women
Have cooked their own children;
They became food for them
In the destruction of the daughter of my people.” Lamentations 4:9, 10
Life application: The third horse is let loose. The first horse was white and carried a rider with a bow who went out conquering and to conquer. The second horse was red, and it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth through war. Now come famine and hunger – a result of the first two horses. If you see the logical progression, the entire world is following the same path that Nazi Germany went down and the same path that many other countries have gone down.
They started with a leader who supposedly could conquer and provide peace (the white horse), but he instead brought war (the red horse) and its result was famine and suffering (the black horse). These will be followed by one more, but before that one arrives, there is going to be the time of rationing which is symbolized by the scales.
Because the rationed food won’t be enough to satisfy, people will secretly hide anything they can eat even from their own family. The horrendous consequences of rejecting God will result in what is now unimaginable.
Deuteronomy 28:56, 57 shows us the level that humans will sink to when the food runs out. The terrifying words read – “The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, 57 her placenta which comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.”
Such is the state that the entire world will be reduced to in the years ahead. This type of situation will fill the world because of our rejection of the love of God in Jesus so that we can do things our own way. Reject that avenue now and call on Jesus before the time of horror described here comes upon the entire world.
Lord, it is overwhelming to consider what the Bible presents concerning the horrors of the tribulation period. Man will turn to the lowest levels of existence and the greatest levels of depravity on a global scale. It is hard to even comprehend that during times of abundance and prosperity. But we know it is coming. You are righteous in Your judgments because we have left You out of our lives. In wrath remember mercy, O God. Amen.