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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 33

The Rider on a Black Horse

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Let’s address a short prayer to God:

Our Father,

We heartily thank You for Your inspired Word which gives us prophecies and explains the meaning of their symbolic content.

We ask You once again to guide us, so that our understanding of prophecy may not rest on human interpretations, but on the Bible only.

In Jesus Christ we pray.


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Revelation 4:1

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said,

«Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter.»


Revelation 5:5

Weep not. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.


The opening of the seven seals, which Jesus made possible, reveals to us «things which must be hereafter».

Let’s study the third seal.

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Revelation 6:5

When [the Lamb] had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, «Come and see.»


Revelation 4:7

The third beast had a face as a man.


The lion-like beast of the first seal announced the victorious Church of the years 31 to 100.

The calf-like beast of the second seal announced the martyred Church of the years 100 to 313.

What does the man-like beast of the third seal announce?

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Daniel 7:2,3,17

I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove on the Great Sea.

And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. (...)

These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.


In our lesson «The Four Mythical Beasts», we studied the vision of Daniel about four beasts representing the following four kingdoms:

- Babylon;
- the Medo-Persian empire;
- Greece;
- and Rome.

In contrast to these political and military powers symbolized by beasts, another kingdom then succeeded them, having a face like a man...

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Daniel 7:8,24,25

There came up among them another little horn. (...) In this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. (...)

He shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws.


This power, symbolized by a little horn with a face like a man, is different from the other kingdoms symbolized by beasts.

Indeed, besides its physical fight against God’s Church by persecuting the saints, this power also carries on a spiritual fight by attacking God’s law.

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Daniel 8:9-12

And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which (...) waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped on them.

Yes, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down.

And a host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.


A future lesson will identify this little horn.

For now, let’s remember that the third beast’s face like a man indicates that God’s Church, under the third seal, is no longer threatened only on the physical level by the persecution of the saints, but also on the spiritual level by direct attacks against Bible doctrine.

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Revelation 2:12,14

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,

«(...) I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.»


This attack against God’s doctrine, under the third seal, corresponds exactly with the situation described in the letter to the third church, Pergamos, when false doctrines began to infiltrate the Church as a result of the many compromises with surrounding paganism.

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Revelation 6:5

When [the Lamb] had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, «Come and see.»

And I beheld, and see a black horse.


Just like the first two seals, the color of the horse illustrates the conditions prevailing during the period described by the prophecy.

In contrast to the white horse of the first seal, symbolizing the purity of the apostolic Church and its doctrine, the black horse indicates a period of doctrinal compromise darkening the divine truth, confirming the message of the letter to the third church, Pergamos.

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Acts 26:17,18

I send you [to the Gentiles], to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.


John 12:35

Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come on you: for he that walks in darkness knows not where he goes.


As a sign of darkness and obscurity, the color black indicates a spiritual state that is far away from light, from the truth manifested in Jesus.

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Revelation 6:5

When [the Lamb] had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, «Come and see.»

And I beheld, and see a black horse.


Zechariah 1:9,10

Then said I, «O my lord, what are these [horses]?»

And the angel that talked with me said to me, «I will show you what these be.»

And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, «These are they whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro through the earth.»


Since the horses are sent by God to carry out His will on earth, and since the black horse indicates a period of spiritual darkness, does it mean that God was the One who caused this darkening?

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2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


One thing is sure, «[God] will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.» (1 Timothy 2:4).

However, God respects our freedom of choice.

If we definitely decide to reject the salvation He offers to each one of us, He will allow us to sink into spiritual darkness.

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Psalm 81:11-14

But My people would not listen to My voice; and Israel would none of Me. So I gave them up to their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

Oh that My people had listened to Me, and Israel had walked in My ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned My hand against their adversaries.


God would have preferred to send again the white horse at the opening of the third seal.

But, because of its craving for power and dominion, the Church chose to make compromises with paganism, and contaminated God’s doctrine, thus forcing the dispatch of the black horse.

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Revelation 6:5

And I beheld, and see a black horse.

And he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.


Psalm 62:9

Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie.

To be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.


The rider on the black horse holds a pair of balances, warning the Church that its work will be weighed.

Having sacrificed the truth in favor of power over the nations, the Church might well find its work too light.

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The balances indicate that the works of men will be judged by God:

«Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know my integrity.» (Job 31:6)

«You are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting.» (Daniel 5:27)

«Yes, in heart you work wickedness; you weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.» (Psalm 58:2)

«And you, son of man, take you a sharp knife, take you a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass on your head and on your beard: then take you balances to weigh, and divide the hair. (...) Thus said the Lord God; “This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the middle of the nations and countries that are round about her. And she has changed My judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and My statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused My judgments and My statutes, they have not walked in them.”» (Ezekiel 5:1,5,6)

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Revelation 6:5,6

He that sat on [the black horse] had a pair of balances in his hand.

And I heard a voice in the middle of the four beasts say (...).


Revelation 5:6

And I beheld, and, see, in the middle of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the middle of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.


In the latter part of the third seal, a word is uttered by someone placed in the midst of the four beasts.

We can see that this is the Lamb who was slain: Jesus Christ Himself.

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Revelation 6:6

And I heard a voice in the middle of the four beasts say,

«A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny.»


Matthew 20:1,2

A householder (...) went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.

And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.


A penny was the laborer’s wages for a day.

As for a measure of wheat, it represented the daily food intake for one man.

The high price of a daily ration thus means that Jesus foretells a severe famine under the third seal.

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Ezekiel 4:9

Take you also to you wheat, and barley, (...) and make you bread thereof.


Matthew 4:4

But [Jesus] answered and said, «It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”»


John 6:48

I am that Bread of Life.


Wheat and barley, which are used to make bread, also symbolize the Word of God.

So, what does the third seal’s famine mean?

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Amos 8:11,12

«Behold, the days come,» said the Lord God, «that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.»


The shortage of wheat and barley symbolizes the scarcity of the Word of God.

The third seal describes the years from 313 to 538, when the Church laid aside the Bible to better adapt itself to surrounding paganism.

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Deuteronomy 8:3

And [the Lord your God] humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord does man live.


The symbol of the famine reminds us that we are entirely dependent upon God.

In the spiritual desert, without the heavenly manna which is the bread of life, we would be condemned to certain death.

This is why we must daily feed ourselves on the Word of God.

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Revelation 2:12,14,17

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,

«(...) I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam. (...)

To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna.»


Let’s take note of another interesting link between the letter to the third church, Pergamos, and the third seal, both describing the period from 313 to 538.

The doctrine of Balaam, that is, paganism, has replaced the Word of God, and a spiritual famine sets in. But the hidden manna is promised to him who overcomes, as when Israel was crossing the long and arid desert.

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Revelation 6:6

And I heard a voice in the middle of the four beasts say,

«A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny.

And see you hurt not the oil and the wine.»


In spite of the great spiritual famine which seizes the nations, Jesus commands that the oil and wine be spared.

What does this symbolize?

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Hebrews 1:8,9

But to the Son [God] said,

«Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows.»


Acts 10:38

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.


The oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit who is working within us.

Like a divine anointing, the Spirit gives us the ability to work in God’s harvest.

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Zechariah 4:2-6 : The oil in the lamp symbolizes the Spirit working within us.

And [the angel] said to me, «What see you?»

And I said, «I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are on the top thereof: and two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl, and the other on the left side thereof.»

So I answered and spoke to the angel that talked with me, saying, «What are these, my lord?»

Then the angel that talked with me answered and said to me, «Know you not what these be?»

And I said, «No, my lord.»

Then he answered and spoke to me, saying, «This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit,” said the Lord of hosts.»

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Deuteronomy 32:14 [NKJV]

You drank wine, the blood of the grapes.


Matthew 26:27,28

And [Jesus] took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to [His disciples], saying,

«Drink you all of it; for this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.»


As for the wine, it symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.

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Song of Solomon 2:4; 4:10 [Darby]

He hath brought me to the house of wine, and his banner over me is love. (...)

How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the fragrance of thine ointments than all spices!


John 15:13

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


Associated with love, the wine, symbolizing the blood of Jesus, is also a mark of His supreme love in having given His life for each one of us.

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Luke 10:33,34

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.

And when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine.


By protecting the oil and the wine during the third seal, between 313 and 538, Jesus indicates that, despite the severe errors of the Church, the Holy Spirit and salvation in Christ are still offered to the believer.

As in the parable of the Samaritan, the oil and the wine are a balm on the wounds of famished believers, deprived of the Word of God.

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Revelation 6:6

See you hurt not the oil and the wine.


Revelation 2:12,13

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,

«(...) You hold fast My name, and have not denied My faith.»


As we have seen in the lesson «Letter to the Church of Pergamos», between 313 and 538 the Church held many concils reaffirming some of the great biblical truths about Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, thus contributing to protecting «the oil and the wine».

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Deuteronomy 7:12,13

It shall come to pass, if you listen to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord your God shall keep to you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers.

And He will love you, and bless you, and multiply you: He will also bless the fruit of your womb, and the fruit of your land, your corn, and your wine, and your oil.


God offers to each one of us:

- the wheat, which is His Word;
- the wine, which is the blood of Jesus shed for our salvation;
- and the oil, which is the Holy Spirit.

By accepting them and following God, we will be able to avoid spiritual famine.

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We invite you to pray with us:


Your Son said, «I am the Bread of Life: he that comes to Me shall never hunger; and he that believes on Me shall never thirst.» (John 6:35).

Please help us to follow You in everything, to cling to You, so that we don’t experience spiritual famine.

We wait for the day when You fulfill this promise You made to Your people, «Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen.» (Joel 2:19).

In the name of Jesus Christ our precious Savior we thank You for everything.


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