The Fourth Seal (Rev. 6:7–8)
6:7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.”
The fourth seal follows the pattern of the first three. The Lamb broke the seal, and the fourth living creature heralded the fourth horse and its rider.
6:8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.
A Pale Horse
John describes the final horse as ashen (pale). Chlōros (ashen, pale), from which the English words “chlorophyll” and “chlorine” derive, refers to a sickly, pale, yellow-green color. More specifically, it describes green vegetation (Rev. 8:7, 9:4; Mark 6:39).
The horse’s color vividly portrays the pale-green pallor of the decomposition of a corpse. Fittingly, the rider who sat on the pale horse had the ominous name, “Death.”
The Name Death and Hades
terrifying scene, John saw Hades following Death, as they come in pairs, before
the redemption in Christ
(Rev. 1:18; 20:13,14).
Death came to all men through Adam when he disobeyed the command of God. The Lord God said to them, “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17, NIV). Because of Adam’s sin, death and hades entered the world and ruled over everybody before Christ, “because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12, NIV).
A Fourth of the Earth
The “fourth of the earth” refers to those on the fourth watch. The fourth watch represented a difficult time for those working in the sea, and death threatened them. In the fourth watch, the Lord Jesus Christ saved His disciples from drowning in the sea (Matt. 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21).
Again, how can such a dreadful image that portrays death fit with the good news of God’s Revelation through Jesus Christ and His redemption plan? It seems this is another paradox.
Opening the fourth seal, which has the pale horse and rider, presents a significant element of God’s redemption. The Lord Jesus Christ “became obedient to death, even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:8, NIV). “He suffered death so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9, NIV).God decreed that as people suffered death and hades because of Adam, many receive the grace of eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:15, NIV). Through baptism, The Spirit of God buries us with Christ into death and raises us to live a new life as new creations (Rom. 6:4, NIV).