Early on in my Christian journey, I was given a word once to put shutters on like a racehorse, and look neither right nor left. Some time later, when I thought I was progressing nicely along this narrow upward path, I was shocked to learn that far from being in the race as Paul describes it, I had not even entered the starting gate!
Not so with the four horses and their riders of REVELATION 6:1-8. In fact they have been in their respective races now for 95, 95, 92, and 82 years. Before we come to do an exposition of the Book of REVELATION, it will help to show what these horsemen represent. In general it is not known and believed to be for a future date. The seals of REVELATION 6:1, 3, 5, and 7 have, however, been opened and this is easily seen from our perspective in the Twenty-first Century. They are–as revealed by the fact that the Lamb opens them to release what is inside–judgments upon the earth. They are judgments sent by the Most High Judge Himself, and only according to His purposes. The instruments of these judgments are without authority to do anything except that instructed them by YHWH. They have not a shred of authority at all. They are but servants. That they are from YHWH is also seen by the colours of the horses.
Each colour illustrates a mark of Messiah: white symbolizes His holiness, red His sacrificial death, black means power and authority at the right hand of the Father, and pale is for the suffering of the Messiah. Before embarking further on this a brief history lesson is needed.
We know from the previous post–A Fig Tree in the Way–that Yahshua foretold the restoration of Israel in 1948, and of the independence of many other nations: …Behold the fig tree, and all the other trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know…that summer is night at hand (LUKE 21:29-30). As discussed therein, trees symbolize nations. The Jews had to re-form their nation last century in order for YHWH’s plans to be fulfilled. So too did the many other nations of the world need to be formed. My own nation, Australia, was formed on 1 January 1901, the first day and year of the Twentieth Century.
It was a different matter with that Jewish nation, later called Israel. The Jews had become complacent and comfortable in their adoptive nations, cities, and warm houses of Europe. Some were fished by men around the First World War to return to Palestine to establish a homeland. Many millions immigrated westward to America instead. Failing to be coaxed by fishermen, YHWH was forced to send hunters: But, YHWH liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the north, and from all the lands whither He had driven them; and I will bring them again into their own land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith YHWH, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain…hill…holes of the rocks (YER. 16:15-16).
Interestingly, it was the Australian Light Horsemen, just 800 of them, in World War I who made it possible for the Jews to return to Palestine. The Holy Land had been under Muslim control since the Seventh Century. The Crusaders had failed to oust them. Thence came World War I with Turkey on the side of the German/Austrian alliance. The Muslims in the Middle East had slaughtered one million Armenian Christians by 1915. So Britain, aided by the Australian Light Horse, went in through the Sinai Peninsula to liberate Palestine and Yerushalem. The key to this area was Beersheba in Gaza, where Abraham had dug a well.
The battle to take Beersheba was over a four kilometre open plain surrounding the town. The allies had one day or the battle would be lost, for the only water available was in the well in Beersheba, and it had to be saved before being blown up by the German commander should the town be taken. A 50,000 strong British infantry brigade with tank support had been repulsed. In the final hour before dark, the 800 Light Horsemen thundered across the plain to do the impossible–charge the Beersheba defences. It had never been done before because the Light Horse do not carry swords, just rifles with bayonets attached.
They took the defences and the well before it was destroyed, and opened the gates to the Holy Land, allowing Yerushalem to be liberated after 1300 years. Like David and Gideon, YHWH chose the youngest and least significant to Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in (PSA. 24:7). Australia was just seventeen years old and one of the least populated nations on Earth. We later became the first country to vote in favour of Israel becoming a nation. A UN vote is done in alphabetical order: Afghanistan, the first, a Muslim nation, voted ‘No’; Argentina next, abstained; and Australia third, voted in favour.
British General Edmund Allenby entered Yerushalem on 11 December 1917, opening an ancient spiritual gate as described in PSALM 24:7. So the horses of REVELATION 6 could go into their allotted places.
But, as was pointed out, most of the Jews, like recalcitrant racehorses, refused to enter the gates, so the hunters were sent to drive them back to their lands. Who these hunters were is the subject of my next post.