It is extraordinarily challenging to study the book of Revelation. Sometimes we learn to interpret the wrong way and need God’s spirit to correct us in our understanding.
“I saw” is a recurring phrase John uses as a witness to God’s revelation.
Verse 1 introduces us to antichrist as the first horseman. He initially conquers man through deception. All will initially believe him because people will be looking for answers and antichrist will offer peace.
Verse 4 introduces us to famine as the second horseman. It interrupts the illusion of peace because there was never really peace in the first places.
Verse 5 introduces us to widespread death as the third horseman, a slow death, as in a famine, represented by a set of balances.
Famine easily brings about:
1. Control. If people are hungry, you can make them do whatever you want. Antichrist will take advantage of this.
2. Coercion. Again, antichrist will control the food supply to manipulate people.
3. Chaos. People will literally kill each other for a bite to eat. Also there will be disease and pestilence.
Remember, God is fully in control the these seals.
Verse 8 talks about a pale horse, the fourth horseman. This is Death. It is the only one of the four seals that has a name. Hell follows with Death. This is because so many people will die, some 25% of the remaining population of the earth.
The question isn’t how God could allow such a thing, but how can we not see God’s holiness? For this is what makes God.
God will send an angel to preach the everlasting kingdom of God so everyone will have a final chance.
Even if Christ were to return today, the destruction of the earth would still be 1,007 years away. It is preceded by the 7-year tribulation followed by Christ’s millennial reign.
Verse 9 introduces the fifth seal, the souls of slain martyrs praising God for His judgment. We don’t know who these souls are nor what they look like. These martyrs could also be from the time before the tribulation. After all, the chronology of God’s church is a bloodbath of believers who were slain for their faith. Even in the present, there are Christians dying for their faith.