The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Author: Eduardo Freire Canosa


The premise that the Book of Revelation was a sealed prophetic book reserved for the Christian believers of the end time finds support in this word of the Lord spoken to Isaiah,

Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

(Isaiah 46:9-10)

The maximum end time period we find ourselves in spans the years 1967-2047. The year 1967 marked the fulfillment of this prophecy of Jesus Christ, "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). The prophecy is two-pronged: (i) the return of the city of Jerusalem to Jewish sovereignty, which took place on June 7, 1967, and (ii) the start of the great "falling away" (2 Thessalonians 2:3, cf. Luke 18:8) which the counter-culture of the sixties accomplished. Therefore the year 1967 marked the start of the last generation according to the parable of the fig tree (Luke 21:29-33). Now Moses the man of God defines a generation to be seventy or eighty years long (Psalms 90:10). Therefore the maximum end time interval is given by:

Year 1967  +  (80 years) maximum  =  Year 2047

It is now or never. If all the nations of the earth have not seen "the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30) by the end of the year 2047 then Christianity will have forfeited its claim to truth.

The four horses and their rider are metaphors for world powers of the end time (cf. Zechariah 1:8-10, 6:1-8 [Four Chariots]). These four world powers are described with additional symbols, such as a bow, whose meaning must likewise be inferred from the Bible. Altogether the identification of the four powers must be straightforward.

The white, red and black horses are the principal actors of the end time. Therefore every symbolic figure in the Book of Revelation that represents a world power must belong to one of them. None of the three horses represents a Christian power in keeping with the epoch of "great falling away." This simple observation excludes the Vatican from being "Babylon the Great" (Revelation 17:5) or the Holy Roman Empire from being the "beast that once was, now is not, and yet will come" (Revelation 17:8).

Back To Index

The White Horse is Islam

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

(Revelation 6:1-2)

White: The prescribed colour of the two sheets that every man must wear when he goes on Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) observing a state of purity (ihram). Every Muslim who can must do Hajj at least once (this is one of the five pillars of Islam).

Colour: White

Its rider held a bow: This rider is an archer; Ishmael too was an archer (Genesis 21:20). Prophet Mohammed called his followers the offspring of Ishmael,
Narrated Salama bin Al-Akwa: The Prophet passed by some persons of the tribe of Aslam practicing archery. Allah's Apostle said, "O offspring of Ishmael! Practice archery because your father was a great archer. I am with (on the side of) the son of so-and-so." Hearing that, one of the two teams stopped shooting arrows. Allah's Apostle asked them, "Why are you not shooting?" They replied, "O Allah's Apostle! How shall we shoot when you are on the opposite team?" He said, "Shoot, for I am with you all."

(Sahih Bukhari 4.592)

According to the Koran Abraham and Ishmael built the first House of prayer in Mecca (Koran 2:127-129) on the spot where the Kaaba stands today. Ishmael is accorded the same rank as Jesus, Moses and all the other prophets (Koran 2:136).

And he was given a crown: He was not born with a crown but eventually received one. In fact Mohammed worked as a porter for some time in Mecca (Koran 73:7, 93:6-8, 94:1-6; cf. Sahih Bukhari 2.497). In AD 630 he entered Mecca peaceably at the head of the Muslim army and became the new ruler of the city.

And he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest: Mohammed was inspired supernaturally to wage unrelenting Jihad or holy war,

Fight against those who (1) do not believe in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid what has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and (4) those who do not acknowledge the true religion among the people of the Scriptures until they pay Jiziah [a tax levied from Jews and Christians who are under the protection of a Muslim government] with willing submission and feel subdued.

(Koran 9:29)

Narrated Aisha: When the Prophet returned from the Confrontation of the Trench and laid down his arms and took a bath, Gabriel came and said, "You have laid down your arms? By Allah, we angels have not laid them down yet. So set out for them." The Prophet said, "Where to?" Gabriel said, "This way," pointing towards Banu Quraiza [a Jewish tribe of Medina]. So the Prophet went out towards them.

(Sahih Bukhari 5.443)

He led nineteen military expeditions (Sahih Bukhari 5.285).

Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "By Him in Whose Hands my life is! Were it not for some men who dislike to be left behind and for whom I do not have means of conveyance, I would not stay away (from any Holy Battle). I would love to be martyred in Allah's Cause and come to life and then get martyred and then come to life and then get martyred and then get resurrected and then get martyred."

(Sahih Bukhari 9.332)

His successor Abu Bakr (632-634) sent expeditions against all the apostate tribes of the Arabian Peninsula including the territories of Yemen, Bahrain, Oman and Mara. Next he sent Khalid Al-Walid the "Sword of Islam" and his army against the Persian (Sassanid) Empire. The Muslims were victorious in every engagement: Chains, Madhar, Walaja, Ulais, Al-Hira, Al-Anbar, Ain Al-Tamr, Dumat Al-Jandal, Firad (where the Byzantines first joined the Persians to oppose the invaders) and Yarmuk.

Abu Bakr's successor Umar the "Commander of the Faithful" (634-644) sent Muslim armies to conquer Byzantine Syria. They succeeded after the battles of Al-Yarmuk, Damascus, Pella (northwestern Jordan) Beirut, Tiberias, Homs and Antioch. The city of Jerusalem fell in 637. Next Byzantine Egypt was conquered. The Muslim armies were also sent against the Persians and after an initial failure in the Battle of the Bridge they conquered Al-Madain the capital city of the Sassanid Empire in the definitive Battle of Al-Qadissiya (year 635).

Umar's successor Uthman (644-656) put down a rebellion in Azerbaijan and conquered Byzantine Armenia (both in the year 647) most of North Africa (year 648 onward) and Cyprus (year 649). The Muslims and the Byzantines clashed repeatedly during his caliphate. The most notable action was the marine battle of Dhat-As-Sawari (year 652) when a Muslim fleet defending the port city of Alexandria repulsed a Byzantine armada of 500 vessels. "The two armies did not clash until the ships came close to one another, men fought fiercely and a huge number was killed on both sides."

Note: The first horse is white. White also is the horse ridden by the one called Faithful and True, the Word of God, King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19). This coincidence may imply that Islam will outlive communism and capitalism. Prophet Mohammed anticipated that a portion of the Muslim world would continue fighting for Islam until the Day of Resurrection,

Jabir bin Abdullah reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: "A section of my people will not cease fighting for the Truth and will prevail till the Day of Resurrection." He said that Jesus son of Mary would then descend and their (Muslims') commander would invite him to come and lead them in prayer, but he would say: "No, some amongst you are commanders over some (amongst you). This is the honour from Allah for this Ummah [community of believers]."

(Sahih Muslim 1.293)

Back To Index

The Red Horse is Communism

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

(Revelation 6:3-4)

Red: The colour of the Communist flag. Communists are often referred to as reds.

Colour: Red

Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other: This rider is a troublemaker. Class struggle is the motor of history according to Karl Marx, and in the era of capitalism this pits the operators of the means of production (the class of the industrial workers or proletariat) against the owners (the class of the bourgeoisie). The "inevitable" course of human history makes the "proletarian revolution" a certainty in every advanced capitalist society. The proletariat's overthrow of the bourgeoisie, politically and economically, ushers in a socialist epoch where the political leadership is exclusively in the hands of that class, i.e. "the dictatorship of the proletariat." The dictatorship's ultimate endeavour is to develop efficient means of production, through scientific and technological research, with lingering capitalist enterprise in a subservient role, to generate high enough harvest yields and volumes of industrial products which will permit a transition from socialism to communism. In communism everyone is assured a bountiful life and there is no exploitation because everyone is a member of the working class.

Vladimir Lenin explained what a "proletarian revolution" should do,

In order to win the majority of the population to its side, the proletariat must, in the first place, overthrow the bourgeoisie and seize state power; secondly, it must introduce Soviet power and completely smash the old state apparatus, whereby it immediately undermines the rule, prestige and influence of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeois compromisers over the non-proletarian working people. Thirdly, it must entirely destroy the influence of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeois compromisers over the majority of the non-proletarian masses by satisfying their economic needs in a revolutionary way at the expense of the exploiters.

(V. I. Lenin: "The Constituent Assembly Elections and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat." Works, 30, pp. 265-266. Moscow: Progress Publishers. Year 1965)

and he also explained the essence of the "dictatorship of the proletariat,"

The dictatorship of the proletariat means a persistent struggle—bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative—against the forces and traditions of the old society. The force of habit of millions and tens of millions is a most terrible force. Without a party of iron tempered in the struggle, a party enjoying the confidence of all honest people in the class in question, a party capable of watching and influencing the mood of the masses, such a struggle cannot be waged successfully. It is a thousand times easier to vanquish the centralized big bourgeoisie than to "vanquish" the millions upon millions of petty proprietors. Through their ordinary, everyday, imperceptible, elusive and demoralizing activities they produce the very results which the bourgeoisie need and which tend to restore the bourgeoisie. Whoever brings about even the slightest weakening of the iron discipline of the party of the proletariat (especially during its dictatorship) is actually aiding the bourgeoisie against the proletariat.

(V. I. Lenin: "'Left-Wing' Communism—An Infantile Disorder." Works, 31, pp. 44-45. Moscow: Progress Publishers. Year 1966)

Mao Tse-tung applied Marxism-Leninism to the specific circumstance of "a semi-feudal, semi-colonial and colonial" China to create the First Front Red Army at the onset of the Second Revolutionary Civil War in 1927, rebuild the Red Army after the Long March of 1934-35, harass Japanese troops with it during the War of Resistance (1937-45) and defeat Chiang Kai-shek in the Third Revolutionary Civil War (1946-49).

The People's Republic of China came into being on September 30, 1949, with the final declaration of the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Chairman Mao made a public proclamation in Tien An Men Square the following day. Six years later, on October 11, 1955, at the conclusion of the Enlarged Sixth Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, he pronounced these words on the ultimate fate of capitalism,

The Agrarian Reform [in the Liberated Areas from 1927 to 1937] enabled us to form an alliance with the peasants on the basis of democracy and enabled them to obtain land. The procuring of land by the peasants was a bourgeois-democratic revolution in nature, for it destroyed feudal ownership only, not capitalist ownership or individual ownership. That alliance made the bourgeoisie feel isolated for the first time.

At the Third Plenary Session [of the Seventh Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party] in 1950, I spoke against hitting out in all directions. The Agrarian Reform had not yet been carried out in vast areas of the country, nor had peasants entirely come over to our side. If we had opened fire on the bourgeoisie then, it would have been out of order. After the Agrarian Reform, when the peasants had entirely come over to our side, it was possible and necessary for us to start the movements against the "three evils" and the "five evils" [November 1951 to March 1952].

Agricultural co-operation will enable us to consolidate our alliance with the peasants on the basis of proletarian socialism and not of bourgeois democracy. That will isolate the bourgeoisie once and for all and facilitate the final elimination of capitalism. On this matter we are quite heartless! On this matter Marxism is indeed cruel and has little mercy, for it is determined to exterminate imperialism, feudalism, capitalism, and small production to boot. In this respect, it is better not to have much mercy. Some of our comrades are too kind, they are not tough enough, in other words, they are not so Marxist. It is a very good thing, and a significant one too, to exterminate the bourgeoisie and capitalism in China, a country with a population of 600 million. Our aim is to exterminate capitalism, obliterate it from the face of the earth and make it a thing of the past. What emerges in history is bound to die out. Everything in the world is a historical phenomenon; as there is life, so there must be death. As a historical phenomenon, capitalism must also die out, and it has a very nice place to go to, that is, underground, there to "sleep".

(Mao Tse-tung: "The Debate On the Co-Operative Transformation of Agriculture and the Current Class Struggle." Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, 5, p. 214. Peking: Foreign Languages Press. Year 1977)

To him was given a large sword: A large sword is reminiscent of Goliath the Philistine (1 Samuel 21:9) and is a symbol of great strength.

video icon  Chinese Nuclear Missiles Underground

Back To Index

The Black Horse is Capitalism

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

(Revelation 6:5-6)

Black: The dominant colour in the Black Tie dress code required to attend the social functions of the affluent.

Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand: This rider is a merchant (Leviticus 19:36, Proverbs 11:1, Jeremiah 32:8-12, Hosea 12:7-8).

A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!: The merchant offers prospective labourers a porter's job ("do not damage the oil and the wine!") along with a miserable salary ("A quart of wheat for a day's wages"). This unflattering image of capitalism, for better or worse, coincides with the Marxist view of capitalist motivation,

The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer. What, therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence.

(K. Marx and F. Engels, 1848: Manifesto of the Communist Party, chapter II)

video icon  Speech delivered by Argentinian president Javier Milei at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (January 18, 2024).

Back To Index

The Pale Horse is the Residue

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

(Revelation 6:7-8)

Pale: The colour is indefinite, "deficient in color or intensity of color" (Merriam-Webster) and tags those forces that do not belong to any of the three previous horses (e.g. the Covid-19 pandemic, tribal divisions, severe weather) yet can cause widespread death (e.g. the Rwandan genocide).

They were given power over a fourth of the earth: Death and Hades really exercise their power over the whole earth, but only over a fourth under the guise of the pale horse. The fraction ¼ suggests that every horse exercises authority over a quarter of the earth's population.

Back To Index

Correlation with Daniel 7:2-7

Ken Raggio explains that the four beasts of Daniel's vision represent end-time powers. The lion is the United Kingdom, the wings of an eagle represent the American colonies, the bear is Russia.

The U.K. and the U.S.A. belong to the black horse. Russia belonged to the red horse until dissolution of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day, 1991, and I propose that the "three ribs in its mouth between its teeth" were the three Baltic republics: Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

Since the books of Daniel and Revelation are inspired by the same "word of the Lord," the fourth beast "terrifying and frightening and very powerful" belongs to the red horse because Revelation's similar beast of ten horns has the colour red (Rev. 12:3, 17:3).

Therefore the third beast must belong to the (missing) white horse.

Leopard: The Old Testament depicts the leopard as inhabiting the mountains of Lebanon (Song of Solomon 4:8) ferocious (Jeremiah 5:6) lurking (Hosea 13:7) and swift (Habakkuk 1:8).

Four heads: These are the four "rightly guided caliphs": Abu Bakr as-Siddik, Umar son of al-Jattab, Uthman son of Affan, and Ali son of Abu Talib.

Four wings like those of a bird: The Muslim armies darted back and forth during the era of the four rightly guided caliphs. Islam expanded to the entire Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus and Egypt during the first three caliphates. There was no expansion during Ali's but fratricidal slaughter between he and Muawiya the governor of Syria appointed by Uthman.

Back To Index

Further Reading

Chronology of the Bible

Criticism of the Book of Revelation

Criticism of the Gospel of Matthew

Lenore: That Rare And Radiant Maiden

New York City Is "Babylon The Great"

The Fourth Trumpet

The Gold-Headed Statue of Daniel 2:31-44

The Mark of the Beast and the Number 666

The Revised Book of Isaiah

The Revised Book of Revelation

The Soviet Union Almost Was the Red Beast of Revelation

Who Wrote the Five Books of Moses?

Back To Index

When I Was a Child in Ferrol, Spain (1953-65)