What/who have commentators historically believed the "four riders" of Revelation 6 were?
The following is a couple of historical perspectives from the literature. (These are not theological perspectives).
The first historical perspective is that the 4 riders of Revelation 6 were according to the article Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (This article also has many links at its end):
The first Horseman is represented by the Anti-Christ, who
He is crafty, spreading a false sense of God’s Will while hiding behind the facade of Divine favor.
The second Horseman, or red Horseman represents conflict and whose arrival
“to destroy peace on Earth and to sow fighting amongst the people.”
The third or black Horseman, represents famine and disease, which according to the article:
Under him, the wealthy thrive upon the misfortune of the poor, who are unable to pay for the items they need to survive.
the final Horseman, is Death, with the goal
to destroy all that has life on Earth.
The article uses the example of the Middle Ages, where famine, plague and war ravaged Europe, leading many to believe that the Apocalypse was upon them.
Digging a little deeper, for a second historical perspective, as to the possible influences that inspired the descriptions of the Four Riders, according to a brief article Albrecht Durer’s “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” (Hanna, 2010), based on a late 15th century illustrated book about Revelation 6 by Albrecht Durer who illustrated the following representation of the 4 Riders:
an interpretation (not necessarily my interpretation) is the first Horseman were portrayed as Ottoman Turk cavalrymen (archer) who went and conquered Constantinople, then one of the greatest cities of Christendom.
The second horseman was represented as contemporary German mercenaries of the age about when Revelations was written (the one with the sword), these mercenaries were also known as the Landsknecht. These are an example that Durer used to represent those who made war.
The third horseman is interpreted by Durer as being those who had control over the food stores at the time of Revelation's writing (represented by the scales), which according to Hanna:
The power over what can be bought and sold can be as deadly as any sword or bow, and just as destructive.
Finally, the final Horseman, is interpreted by Durer as being the culmination of all the previous wrongdoings and
is the harvester of the crop sown bylust for conquest, war and famine.
(Hopefully, I am answering this question correctly):
Each of the 4 horsemen is associated with one of the four living creatures:
Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say, as with a voice of thunder, "Come!" And I saw,and behold, a white horse ... When he opened the second seal,I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" ... When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" ...When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" ... (Apocalypse 6.1b- 7)
This is by no means erely madventitious, merely co-incidetal. The four living creatures are recreated from the visions contained in the book of Ezekiel. In Christian iconography they also evolve to become iconographic representations of the gospels themselves. The hermeneutic of the one - the horsemen in this case - and that of the other - the four living creatures, and finally the fourfold gospel - are mutually inclusive. Further to that, the four sevenfold series are party to this same basic structural paradigm. In this way, the integrity of the book as an entirety is guaranteed.
Some commentators say the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are political powers but I have not found one yet that has a convincing explanation as to which horse represents which power.
Every quote is from YLT.
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as it were a voice of thunder, ‘Come and behold!’
and I saw, and lo, a white horse, and he who is sitting upon it having a bow, and there was given to him a crown, and he went forth overcoming, and that he may overcome.
We have to find someone or something that
- has a bow
- was given a crown (and the fact it was given is almost always overlooked)
- and went forth conquering.
Isaiah 7 has the bow. Read the whole chapter and notice verses 14-15:
Therefore the Lord Himself giveth to you a sign, Lo, the Virgin is conceiving, And is bringing forth a son, And hath called his name Immanuel,
Butter and honey he doth eat, When he knoweth to refuse evil, and to fix on good.
It seems strange to mention Immanuel will eat butter and honey until you read the rest of the chapter. The rest of this chapter talks about how an invader is going to destroy all the crops and the people's only source of food will be dairy and foraging. At the end of the chapter, in verse 20-27, we read this:
In that day doth the Lord shave, By a razor that is hired beyond the river, By the king of Asshur, The head, and the hair of the feet, Yea, also the beard it consumeth.
And it hath come to pass, in that day, A man keepeth alive a heifer of the herd, And two of the flock,
On that day a man will raise a young cow and two sheep, And it hath come to pass, From the abundance of the yielding of milk he eateth butter, For butter and honey doth every one eat Who is left in the heart of the land.
and from the abundant milk they give He will eat curds, for every survivor in the land will eat curds and honey.
And it hath come to pass, in that day, Every place where there are a thousand vines, At a thousand silverlings, Is for brier and for thorns.
With arrows and with bow he cometh thither, because [of which] all the land is brier and thorn.
And all the hills that with a mattock are kept in order, Thither cometh not the fear of brier and thorn, And it hath been for the sending forth of ox, And for the treading of sheep!
So the king of Assyria had the bow. What about the crown? The word translated into "crown" in Revelation 6:2 comes from stephanos (στέφανος), which is the leafy kind of crown, not the metal kind.
Read Isaiah 28:1-5:
Wo to the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim. And the fading flower of the beauty of his glory, That is on the head of the fat valley of the broken down of wine.
Lo, a mighty and strong one is to the Lord, As a storm of hail - a destructive shower, As an inundation of mighty waters overflowing, He cast down to the earth with the hand.
By feet trodden down is the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim,
And the fading flower of the beauty of his glory That is on the head of the fat valley, Hath been as its first-fruit before summer, That its beholder seeth, While it is yet in his hand he swalloweth it.
In that day is Jehovah of Hosts For a crown of beauty, and for a diadem of glory, To the remnant of His people.
Ephraim was the leading tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel. Isaiah 28 says a "mighty and a strong one" would stamp Ephraim's crown under foot. Who did this?
Kings 12:1-6, 23:
In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah reigned hath Hoshea son of Elah in Samaria over Israel – nine years,
and he doth the evil thing in the eyes of Jehovah, only, not as the kings of Israel who were before him;
and against him came up Shalmaneser king of Asshur, and Hoshea is to him a servant, and doth render to him a present.
And the king of Asshur findeth in Hoshea a conspiracy, in that he hath sent messengers unto So king of Egypt, and hath not caused a present to go up to the king of Asshur, as year by year, and the king of Asshur restraineth him, and bindeth him in a house of restraint.
And the king of Asshur goeth up into all the land, and he goeth up to Samaria, and layeth siege against it three years;
in the ninth year of Hoshea hath the king of Asshur captured Samaria, and removeth Israel to Asshur, and causeth them to dwell in Halah, and in Habor, by the river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
till that Jehovah hath turned Israel aside from His presence, as He spake by the hand of all His servants the prophets, and Israel is removed from off its land to Asshur, unto this day.
Assyrians were conquerors. I don't have space to post academic articles showing that (they are not hard to find), but the Bible also says they were conquerors.
Read Isaiah 10:5-14 to see the Assyrians were conquerors:
Wo to Asshur, a rod of Mine anger, And a staff in their hand is Mine indignation.
Against a profane nation I send him, And concerning a people of My wrath I charge him, To spoil, and to seize prey, And to make it a treading-place as the clay of out places.
And he – he thinketh not so, And his heart reckoneth not so, For – to destroy is in his heart, And to cut off nations not a few.
For he saith, ‘Are not my princes altogether kings?
Is not Calno as Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad? Is not Samaria as Damascus?
As my hand hath got to the kingdoms of a worthless thing, and their graven images, Greater than Jerusalem and than Samaria,
Do I not – as I have done to Samaria, And to her worthless things, So do to Jerusalem and to her grievous things?
And it hath come to pass, When the Lord doth fulfill all His work In mount Zion and in Jerusalem, I see concerning the fruit of the greatness Of the heart of the king of Asshur. And concerning the glory of the height of his eyes.
For he hath said, ‘By the power of my hand I have wrought, And by my wisdom, for I have been intelligent, And I remove borders of the peoples, And their chief ones I have spoiled, And I put down as a mighty one the inhabitants,
And my hands as to a nest Getteth to the wealth of the peoples, And as a gathering of forsaken eggs All the earth I – I have gathered, And there hath not been one moving wing, Or opening mouth, or whispering.’
And when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come and behold!’
and there went forth another horse – red, and to him who is sitting upon it, there was given to him to take the peace from the land, and that one another they may slay, and there was given to him a great sword.
So we need to find something or someone that:
- is given power to take peace from the land
- causes people to turn on one another
- is given a great sword (and again the fact it was given is almost always overlooked)
Isaiah 27:1 talks about the great sword:
In that day lay a charge doth Jehovah, With his sword – the sharp, and the great, and the strong, On leviathan – a fleeing serpent, And on leviathan – a crooked serpent, And He hath slain the dragon that is in the sea.
Ezekiel 21:2-20 also talks about the great sword:
‘Son of man, set thy face unto Jerusalem, and prophesy unto the holy places, and prophesy unto the ground of Israel;
and thou hast said unto the ground of Israel: Thus said Jehovah: Lo, I am against thee, And have brought out My sword from its scabbard, And have cut off from thee righteous and wicked.
Because that I have cut off from thee righteous and wicked, Therefore go out doth My sword from its scabbard, Unto all flesh, from south to north.
And known have all flesh that I, Jehovah, Have brought out My sword from its scabbard, It doth not turn back any more.
And thou, son of man, sigh with breaking of loins, yea, with bitterness thou dost sigh before their eyes,
and it hath come to pass, when they say unto thee, For what art thou sighing? that thou hast said: Because of the report, for it is coming, And melted hath every heart, And feeble hath been all hands, And weak is every spirit, And all knees go – waters, Lo, it is coming, yea, it hath been, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah.’
And there is a word of Jehovah unto me, saying,
‘Son of man, prophesy, and thou hast said, Thus said Jehovah, say: A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also polished.
So as to slaughter it is sharpened. So as to have brightness it is polished, Desire hath rejoiced the sceptre of my son, It is despising every tree.
And he giveth it for polishing, For laying hold of by the hand. It is sharpened – the sword – and polished, To give it into the hand of a slayer.
Cry and howl, son of man, For it hath been among My people, It is among all the princes of Israel, Cast unto the sword have been My people. Therefore strike on thy thigh,
Because it is a trier, And what if even the sceptre it is despising? It shall not be, an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah. [God promised David his throne would last forever, but at this point it looks like it will be brought to an end. God promises it would continue.]
And thou, son of man, prophesy, And smite hand on hand, And bent is the sword a third time, The sword of the wounded! It is the sword of the wounded – the great one, That is entering the inner chamber to them.
To melt the heart, and to multiply the ruins, By all their gates I have set the point of a sword. Ah, it is made for brightness, Wrapt up for slaughter.
Take possession of the right, place thyself at the left, Whither thy face is appointed.
And there is a word of Jehovah unto me, saying,
‘And thou, son of man, appoint for thee two ways, for the coming in of the sword of the king of Babylon; from one land they come forth, both of them, and a station prepare thou, at the top of the way of the city prepare it.
Ezekiel 30:22-27 shows the great sword being given and who it was given to:
Therefore, thus said the Lord Jehovah: Lo, I am against Pharaoh, king of Egypt, And I have broken his arms, The strong one and the broken one, And have caused the sword to fall out of his hand,
And scattered the Egyptians among nations, And I have spread them through lands,
And strengthened the arms of the king of Babylon, And I have given My sword into his hand, And I have broken the arms of Pharaoh, And he groaned the groans of a pierced one – before him.
And I have strengthened the arms of the king of Babylon, And the arms of Pharaoh do fall down, And they have known that I am Jehovah, In My giving My sword into the hand of the king of Babylon, And he hath stretched it out toward the land of Egypt.
And I have scattered the Egyptians among nations, And I have spread them through lands, And they have known that I am Jehovah!’
Read Habakkuk 1:5-17 for details on taking away peace. Read Habakkuk 3:16 for details on taking away peace. Read Micah 7:5-6 for details on "one another they may slay".
And when he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, ‘Come and behold!’ and I saw, and lo, a black horse, and he who is sitting upon it is having a balance in his hand,
and I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, ‘A measure of wheat for a denary, and three measures of barley for a denary,’ and ‘The oil and the wine thou mayest not injure.’
We need to find something or someone that:
- has a balance
- has something to do with expensive wheat, expensive barley, oil, and wine
This passage does not say anything about famine - just that the prices of the wheat and barley are very high.
Read Hosea 12:7 for the balance:
Canaan! in his hand are balances of deceit! To oppress he hath loved.
CSB translates this verse as: "A merchant loves to extort with dishonest scales in his hands."
About half of translations say it should be "Canaan", and about half say it should be "merchant" because the word for "merchant" is "Canaan".
Read Isaiah 23:1-3, 8-9, 11 for the balance:
The Burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, For it hath been destroyed, Without house, without entrance, From the land of Chittim it was revealed to them.
Be silent, ye inhabitants of the isle, Trader of Zidon, passing the sea, they filled thee.
And in many waters is the seed of Sihor, The harvent of the brook is her increase, And she is a mart of nations.
Who hath counselled this against Tyre, The crowning one, whose traders are princes, Her merchants the honoured of earth?
Jehovah of Hosts hath counselled it, To pollute the excellency of all beauty, To make light all the honoured of earth.
His hand He hath stretched out over the sea, He hath caused kingdoms to tremble, Jehovah hath charged concerning the merchant one, To destroy her strong places.
Read Ezekiel 27:2-3, 8-9, 12-13 for the balance:
‘And thou, son of man, lift up concerning Tyre a lamentation, and thou hast said to Tyre:
O dweller on the entrance of the sea, Merchant of the peoples unto many isles, Thus said the Lord Jehovah: O Tyre, thou – thou hast said: I am the perfection of beauty.
Inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad have been rowers to thee, Thy wise men, O Tyre, have been in thee, They are thy pilots.
Elders of Gebal and its wise men have been in thee, Strengthening thy breach; All ships of the sea and their mariners, Have been in thee, to trade with thy merchandise.
Tarshish is thy merchant, Because of the abundance of all wealth, For silver, iron, tin, and lead, They have given out they remnants.
Javan, Tubal, and Meshech – they are thy merchants, For persons of men, and vessels of brass, They have given out thy merchandise.
They of the house of Togarmah, For horses, and riding steeds, and mules, They have given out thy remnants.
Sons of Dedan are thy merchants, Many isles are the mart of thy hand, Horns of ivory and ebony they sent back thy reward.
Aram is thy merchant, Because of the abundance of thy works, For emerald, purple, and embroidery, And fine linen, and coral, and agate, They have given out thy remnants.
Judah and the land of Israel – they are thy merchants, For wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, And honey, and oil, and balm, They have given out thy merchandise.
Read 2Chronicles 2:3, 10-12, 15-16 for the wheat, barley, wine, and oil:
And Solomon sendeth unto Huram king of Tyre, saying, ‘When thou hast dealt with David my father, then thou dost send to him cedars to build for him a house to dwell in;
‘And lo, to hewers, to those cutting the trees, I have given beaten wheat to thy servants, cors twenty thousand, and barley, cors twenty thousand, and wine, baths twenty thousand, and oil, baths twenty thousand.’
And Huram king of Tyre saith in writing, and sendeth unto Solomon: ‘In the love of Jehovah to His people He hath given thee king over them.’
And Huram saith, ‘Blessed is Jehovah, God of Israel, who made the heavens and the earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, knowing wisdom and understanding, who doth build a house for Jehovah, and a house for his kingdom.
‘And, now, the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, as my lord said, let him send to his servants,
and we – we cut trees out of Lebanon, according to all thy need, and bring them in to thee – floats by sea, to Joppa, and thou dost take them up to Jerusalem.’
Ezekiel 28:2-5 explains the high prices:
‘Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre: Thus said the Lord Jehovah: Because thy heart hath been high, And thou dost say: A god I am, The habitation of God I have inhabited, In the heart of the seas, And thou art man, and not God, And thou givest out thy heart as the heart of God,
Lo, thou art wiser than Daniel, No hidden thing have they concealed from thee.
By thy wisdom and by thine understanding Thou hast made for thee wealth, And makest gold and silver in thy treasuries.
By the abundance of thy wisdom, Through thy merchandise, Thou hast multiplied thy wealth, And high is thy heart through thy wealth.
And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come and behold!’
and I saw, and lo, a pale horse, and he who is sitting upon him – his name is Death, and Hades doth follow with him, and there was given to them authority to kill, (over the fourth part of the land,) with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and by the beasts of the land.
We need to find 2 somethings or someones that:
- one is referred to as Death, the other as Hades
- have authority to kill by:
- Wild beasts
Read Isaiah 28:14-19, 21 for Death and Hell:
Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
Because ye have said: ‘We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol [Hebrew for "hell"] have we made a provision, An overflowing scourge, when it passeth over, Doth not meet us, Though we have made a lie our refuge, And in falsehood have been hidden.’
Therefore, thus said the Lord Jehovah: ‘Lo, I am laying a foundation in Zion, A stone – a tried stone, a corner stone precious, a settled foundation, He who is believing doth not make haste.
And I have put judgment for a line, And righteousness for a plummet, And sweep away doth hail the refuge of lies, And the secret hiding-place do waters overflow.
And disannulled hath been your covenant with death, And your provision with Sheol doth not stand, An overflowing scourge, when it passeth over, Then ye have been to it for a treading-place.
From the fulness of its passing over it taketh you, For morning by morning it passeth over, By day and by night, And it hath been only a trembling to consider the report.
For shorter hath been the bed Than to stretch one’s self out in, And the covering hath been narrower than to wrap one’s self up in. [Your attempts to get some rest will fall short.]
For as at mount Perazim rise doth Jehovah, As at the valley in Gibeon He is troubled, To do His work – strange is His work, And to do His deed – strange is His deed.’
And now, show not yourselves scorners, Lest strong be your bands, For a consumption, that is determined, I have heard, by the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts, Is for all the land.
Read Isaiah 30:1-9 for the identity of Death and Hell:
Wo to apostate sons, The affirmation of Jehovah! To do counsel, and not from Me, And to spread out a covering, and not of My spirit, So as to add sin to sin.
Who are walking to go down to Egypt, And My mouth have not asked, To be strong in the strength of Pharaoh, And to trust in the shadow of Egypt.
And the strength of Pharaoh Hath been to you for shame, And the trust in the shadow of Egypt confusion
For in Zoan were his princes, And his messengers reach Hanes.
All he made ashamed of a people that profit not, Neither for help, not for profit, But for shame, and also for reproach!
The burden of the beasts of the south. Into a land of adversity and distress, Of young lion and of old lion, Where are vipers and flying saraph, They carry on the shoulder of asses their wealth, And on the hump of camels their treasures, Unto a people not profitable.
Yea, Egyptians are vanity, and in vain do help, Therefore I have cried concerning this: ‘Their strength is to sit still.’
Now, go in, write it on a tablet with them, And on a book engrave it, And it is for a latter day, for a witness unto the age,
That a rebellious people is this, Sons – liars, Sons not willing to hear the law of Jehovah.
Read Isaiah 20:1-6 to show Israel put confidence in Egypt and Cush:
In the year of the coming in of Tartan to Ashdod, when Sargon king of Asshur sendeth him, and he fighteth against Ashdod, and captureth it,
at that time spake Jehavah by the hand of Isaiah son of Amoz, saying, ‘Go, and thou hast loosed the sackcloth from off thy loins, and thy sandal thou dost draw from off thy foot,’ and he doth so, going naked and barefoot.
And Jehovah saith, ‘As My servant Isaiah hath gone naked and barefoot three years, a sign and a wonder for Egypt and for Cush,
so doth the king of Asshur lead the Captivity of Egypt, and the removal of Cush, young and old, naked and barefoot, with seat uncovered – the nakedness of Egypt;
and they have been affrighted and ashamed of Cush their confidence, and of Egypt their beauty,
and the inhabitant of this isle hath said in that day – Lo, thus is our trust, Whither we have fled for help, To be delivered from the king of Asshur, And how do we escape – we?’
Read Isaiah 36:1-9 to show Israel put confidence in Egypt:
And it cometh to pass, in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, come up hath Sennacherib king of Asshur against all the fenced cities of Judah, and seizeth them.
And the king of Asshur sendeth Rabshekah from Lachish to Jerusalem, unto the king Hezekiah, with a heavy force, and he standeth by the conduit of the upper pool, in the highway of the fuller’s field,
and go forth unto him doth Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who is over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah son of Asaph, the remembrancer.
And Rabshakeh saith unto them, ‘Say ye, I pray you, unto Hezekiah, ‘Thus said the great king, the king of Asshur, What is this confidence in which you hast confided?
I have said: Only, a word of the lips” counsel and might are for battle: now, on whom hast thou trusted, that thou hast rebelled against me?
‘Lo, thou hast trusted on the staff of this broken reed – on Egypt – which a man leaneth on, and it hath gone into his hand, and pierced it – so is Pharoah king of Egypt to all those trusting on him.
‘And dost thou say unto me, Unto Jehovah our God we have trusted? is it not He, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath turned aside, and saith to Judah and to Jerusalem, Before this altar ye do bow yourselves?
‘And now, negotiate, I pray thee, with my lord the king of Asshur, and I give to thee two thousand horses, if thou art able to put for thee riders on them.
And how dost thou turn back the face of one captain of the least of the servants of my lord, and dost trust for thee on Egypt, for chariot and for horsemen?
Read Ezekiel 14:12-23 for the famine, sword, plague, and wild animals:
And there is a word of Jehovah unto me, saying,
‘Son of man, the land – when it sinneth against Me to commit a trespass, and I have stretched out My hand against it, and broken for it the staff of bread, and sent into it famine, and cut off from it man and beast –
And these three men have been in its midst, Noah, Daniel, and Job – they by their righteousness deliver their own soul – an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah.
‘If an evil beast I cause to pass through the land, and it hath bereaved, and it hath been a desolation, without any passing through because of the beast –
these three men in its midst: I live – an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah – neither sons nor daughters do they deliver; they alone are delivered, and the land is a desolation.
‘Or – a sword I bring in against that land, and I have said: Sword, thou dost pass over through the land, and I have cut off from it man and beast –
and these three men in its midst: I live – an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah – they deliver not sons and daughters, for they alone are delivered.
‘Or – pestilence I send unto that land, and I have poured out My fury against it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast –
and Noah, Daniel, and Job, in its midst: I live – an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah – neither son nor daughter do they deliver; they, by their righteousness, deliver their own soul.
‘For thus said the Lord Jehovah: Although My four sore judgments – sword, and famine, and wild beast, and pestilence – I have sent unto Jerusalem, to cut off from it man and beast,
yet, lo, there hath been left in it an escape, who are brought forth, sons and daughters, lo, they are coming forth unto you, and ye have seen their way, and their doings, and have been comforted concerning the evil that I have brought in against Jerusalem, all that which I have brought in against it.
And they have comforted you, for ye see their way and their doings, and ye have known that not for nought have I done all that which I have done in her – an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah.’
Read Jeremiah 42:13-22 to see the sword, hunger, and pestilence was connected to Egypt:
‘And if ye are saying, We do not dwell in this land – not to hearken to the voice of Jehovah your God,
saying, No; but the land of Egypt we enter, that we see no war, and the sound of a trumpet do not hear, and for bread be not hungry; and there do we dwell.
And now, therefore, hear ye a word of Jehovah, O remnant of Judah: Thus said Jehovah of Hosts, God of Israel: If ye really set your faces to enter Egypt, and have gone in to sojourn there,
then it hath come to pass, the sword that ye are afraid of, doth there overtake you, in the land of Egypt; and the hunger, because of which ye are sorrowful, doth there cleave after you in Egypt, and there ye die.
‘Thus are all the men who have set their face to enter Egypt to sojourn there; they die – by sword, by hunger, and by pestilence, and there is not to them a remnant and an escaped one, because of the evil that I am bringing in upon them;
for thus said Jehovah of Hosts, God of Israel: As poured out hath been Mine anger and My fury on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so poured out is My fury upon you in your entering Egypt, and ye have been for an execration, and for an astonishment, and for a reviling, and for a reproach, and ye do not see any more this place.
‘Jehovah hath spoken against you, O remnant of Judah, do not enter Egypt: know certainly that I have testified against you to-day;
for ye have shewed yourselves perverse in your souls, for ye sent me unto Jehovah your God, saying, Pray for us unto Jehovah our God, and according to all that Jehovah our God saith, so declare to us, and we have done it;
and I declare to you to-day, and ye have not hearkened to the voice of Jehovah your God, and to anything with which He hath sent me unto you.
And now, know ye certainly that by sword, by famine, and by pestilence ye die, in the place that ye have desired to go in to sojourn there.
Read Jeremiah 44:12-13 for the sword, famine, and pestilence:
**and I have taken the remnant of Judah, who have set their faces to enter the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they have been consumed in the land of Egypt; they fall by sword, by famine they are consumed, from the least even unto the greatest, by sword and by famine they die,* and they have been for an execration, for an astonishment, and for a reviling, and for a reproach.
And I have seen after those dwelling in the land of Egypt, as I saw after Jerusalem, with sword, with famine, and with pestilence,
Finally, the following verses that show the sword and famine and pestilence and wild beasts too. We are just going to put the references here because they take a lot of space and all say essentially the same thing.
- Jeremiah 15:1-3
- Jeremiah 16:4
- Jeremiah 21:5-7
- Jeremiah 24:1-2, 5-10
- Jeremiah 32:24
- Jeremiah 44:27
- Ezekiel 6:8-14
- Ezekiel 7:15
- Ezekiel 33:27
These 4 horsemen were the first 4 seals of the sealed scroll (Revelation 4-5). In Revelation 10:8-11, the angel tells John he has to prophesy again about something. What was it?
And the voice that I heard out of the heaven is again speaking with me, and saying, ‘Go, take the little scroll that is open in the hand of the messenger who hath been standing upon the sea, and upon the land.’
and I went away unto the messenger, saying to him, ‘Give me the little scroll;’ and he saith to me, ‘Take, and eat it up, and it shall make thy belly bitter, but in thy mouth it shall be sweet – as honey.’
And I took the little scroll out of the hand of the messenger, and did eat it up, and it was in my mouth as honey – sweet, and when I did eat it – my belly was made bitter;
and he saith to me, It behoveth thee again to prophesy about peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings – many’.
There is more to this, but I will stop here since your question only asks about the 4 horsemen specifically and my answer is already approaching the word count limit.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Who Are They?
Revelation 6:1-8 (NASB)
The First Seal.
Rider on White Horse.
6:1 Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come[a].” 2 I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
The Rider of the White Horse is Jesus Christ.
The Book of Revelation identifies the Rider on th White Horse as Jesus the "Word of God".
Revelation 19:11-13 (NASB)
11" And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God."
The Second Seal.
3" When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come[b].” 4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him."
The Rider of the Red Horse represents- "Warfare"
The Rider of the red horse was granted to take the peace from the earth and a great sword of war and violence was given to him. Perhaps the two world wars and the wars that followed in which over 110 million people died, is a sign of the gallop of the "Red Horse Rider."
The Third Seal—Famine
5" When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine."
The stark message of the prophesy is shortages of food, food rationing, caused by wars, governmental incompetency, drought, and food deceases. Below is list of some famines taken from Wikipedia.
The 2018 Global Report on Food Crises provides the latest estimates of severe hunger in the world. An estimated 124 million people in 51 countries are currently facing Crisis food insecurity or worse (the equivalent of IPC/CH Phase 3 or above).
1907, 1911 Famines in east-central China China 25,000,000
1917–1919 Persian famine of 1917–1919. As much as 1/4 of the population living in the north of Iran died in the famine.2,000,000, but estimates range as high as 10,000,000
1921–1922 1921–1922 famine in Tatarstan Russia 500,000–2,000,000
1928–1930 Chinese famine of 1928–1930 in northern China. The drought resulted in million of deaths China 3,000,000-10,000,000
1942–1943 Chinese famine of 1942–43 Henan, China 2,000,000–3,000,000
1994–1998 North Korean famine. Scholars estimate 600,000 died of starvation (other estimates range from 200,000 to 3.5 million). North Korea 200,000–3,500,000 2016–present
Famine in Yemen, arising from the blockade of Yemen by Saudi Arabia Yemen 85,000 children, Unknown number of adults.
The Fourth Seal—Death and Pestilence.
7 "When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come[h].” 8 I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. 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."
Death is identified as the rider of the four horse,the Greek word "chloros" pale gray greenish color, that of a sickly person and so Death is a fitting name. The Spanish influenza for example that struck the world ,following the end of the First World War , is estimated to have killed about 20 million people. Some of the worst genocides taken from Wikipedia,
List of the genocides
Event Location Highest estimate Holodomor (Голодомор) (Ukrainian genocide which is part of greater Soviet famine of 1932–33) Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union 7,500,000
Polish genocide German-occupied Europe 3,000,000
Cambodian genocide Democratic Kampuchea 3,000,000
Are all the above perhaps is a fulfillment of the prophesy of Jesus:Luke 21:10(NASB)
Things to Come
10 "Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, 11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven."