Well lets look at this.
- The first horse is the conquerer. Oh, like the earth has never seen a conquerer.
- The second horse is war. Wow, war, imagine that a conquerer who uses war to get what he wants.
- The third horse is economic upheaval. Now that is something so rare on this earth, that as we explain in Jubilee and Our Current Economic Troubles it happens only every 60-70 years.
- The last horse is death. You know anybody who has died? Gosh that never happens.
Now, hopefully you have been slapped into reality. The book of the Revelation starts out with an explanation of why it is being given. Somehow a lot of people seem to skip this first verse.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, Rev. 1:1
Soon, does not mean 1900 years latter in anybody’s dictionary. Since the book was written between 96-98 AD, the events in it should have started, one would think, no later than early in the second century A.D. The people who teach that these events are future either only trying to scare people, or more likely unable to interpret what the text is saying. Either to make money or because they are deceived and scared themselves. But the text plainly states “soon”.
One needs to start looking for these events “soon” to John’s prediction.
The White Horse
96AD began a peaceful period of more than eighty years under the auspicious leadership of the next five emperors starting with Emperor, Nerva, a native of the Island of Crete (whose symbol was a bow, “for Cretans alone of all the Greeks were archers” Pausanias). Following him was Emperor Trajan [98-117], and then Emperor Hadrian [117-138]. These two emperors added Darcia, Romania, and Mesopotamia to the Roman Empire, greatly increasing the size of the Roman Empire. These conquests were achieved under the republic. The emperors were, for the most part, satisfied with preserving borders already established and acquiring further territory by negotiation and diplomacy. For the first time the empire exceeded the borders left by Augustus. For a hundred years people enjoyed peace and good government. This, as well as the building of roads and the safety of travel, enabled the gospel to spread quickly. This was the height of the Roman Empire and its prosperity and power.
The Red Horse
In 193AD Emperor Septimus Severus came to the throne. Almost at once war and civil war broke out in many parts of the Empire. Septimus Severus created three new legions one of which was quartered on the Alban Lake in Italy. This was the first time a legion was inside Italy proper. Rival emperors were vying for power as war broke out with Persia in 212, with the Germans in the west in 220, and the Parthians in the East in 235.
The Black Horse
This rider has a balance in hand with which to affect the economy. A quart of wheat or 3 quarts of barley will cost a denarius; but no harm for oil and wine. This speaks symbolically of the inflated prices of necessities while the price of luxuries does not change. Emperor Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, 222-235) increased the pay of his troops to a ruinous degree. To meet the consequent deficit he issued a new coin, the Antoninus, with a face value of two denary but a weight of only one and two thirds. Future Emperors would follow this precedence and money would become unstable. Between the wars and the taxation, the necessities of life became difficult to obtain while luxuries were unaffected. This resulted in the middle classes being ruined and impoverished.
The Pale Horse
Under Emperor Gallus, 250, there was a plague that lasted 15 years; daily 5000 people died. He then marched against his successor in Moesia in 253, but on the way his own troops kill him. Darcia had to be given up in 271.
During the second half of the century nearly one quarter of the Roman Empires population died. By 297 the economy was completely regulated to secure supplies for the army. Even the artisans were forced to supply the state military machine. The urban population began to migrate to the countryside to make a living, as they could no longer make it in the cities. Over time the economy changed completely over to a barter system. People impoverished fled their homes and farms allowing pestilence to become rampant. Large portions of the Empire were completely autonomous depriving Italy of its market.
This can all be read in the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon