5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
The third seal is famine, riding a black horse. So far, we have a conqueror with a bow, war, and famine which follows both. A third of Germany’s population in the Thirty Year’s War in the early 1600’s perished, mostly by famine and disease, as armies raged over the land. Famine typically follows war.
A penny represents a day’s wages.
Matthew 20:2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
In a famine the price of food goes up. If we imagine a loaf of bread requiring a day’s wages we can see, for a minimum wage worker today that loaf of bread would cost about $60.(9)
Luxury items are not affected, perhaps? The oil and the wine are not affected?
Proverbs 21:17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
War affects the poor and working class in horrific ways because they do not have the wherewithal to survive in times of want caused by conflict.
Let’s move to the fourth seal.
(9) Wayne Croley, “Revelation 6:6: The End Times Cost of Food Part 1. “ Prophecy Proof. http://www.prophecyproof.org/2011/02/revelation-66-the-end-times-cost-of-food-part-1/. (accessed 12.16.2015).
7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
Death, the fourth horseman, follows famine, war, and a conqueror as it often has throughout history. A fourth of the world’s population is killed with weapons of war, hunger, disease, and the natural world’s resurgence. The plague of Justinian in 541 and 542 killed between 25-50 million people in the Eastern Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, port cities around the Mediterranean Sea, and in the East African trading cities. This and the climate change that came in the same time destroyed the ancient world and ushered in the beginnings of the modern world.
A couple of notes here. For killing with death see comments on chapter 2, verse 23. This suggests a plague or plagues.
It is well-known that in some parts of the United States, at least, natural predators are on the rise again due to laws restricting the hunting of them. Mountain lions, coyotes, and wolves are coming back. We will learn why our forefathers killed them if this keeps up as our livestock, pets, and even our children become their prey again. If you recall God warned the Hebrews about to conquer Canaan about one of the consequences of disobedience…
Leviticus 26:22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.
…and how, if they were obedient, why the process of conquest would be gradual.
Deuteronomy 7:22 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
There is a conqueror, war on the earth, famine, and a plague or plagues and wild animals killing large numbers of people.
Now, for the fifth seal.
9 ¶ And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
The fifth seal opens with martyrs made so by the Beast crying out from under the altar asking why God has not taken vengeance on their murderers. Prophets in the past have asked why the wicked were allowed to pursue their goals for so long.
Jeremiah 12:1 Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?
The martyrs were given white robes.
Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
They are told to chill because there are more of them to be killed. God has previously told someone that a promise would be fulfilled later when something was complete. The translation or rapture of the believers, the first resurrection of chapter 20:5,6 which are those who are Christ’s at His coming in 1Corinthians 15:23, will not take place until their number has been filled. Here is proof that the souls of the saved dead are in heaven and not in some state of sleep. Notice this in Paul’s writing.
2Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
The Beast has risen in conquest and slaughter with famine and disease following. He makes martyrs of millions. Let’s move on to the sixth seal.