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December 11 – Jesus removing the seals – four horsemen

“And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.” – Revelation 6:8 

Scripture reading: Revelation 6:1-8

Jesus begins to break the seals of God’s book, that is, He begins to carry out God’s plan for the world. The first four seals are horses ridden by men who trample the world in fury, but they do so in response to a voice from heaven. These are the beginning of a series of preliminary judgments that operate throughout history by which all are called to repentance. The seals are broken, but the events are not necessarily occurring in chronological order, rather each horse and its rider represents something that happens throughout the period before Christ returns.

The first rider on a white horse represents the spirit of conquest we see throughout the ages. His bow is a symbol of military conquest, not the sword Jesus is pictured as wielding. The second rider has a sword and this rider brings internal strife and conflict, and civil disorder. The third rider brings economic hardship caused by injustice (exorbitant prices for necessities, yet not luxuries). The fourth horse is the force of death, accompanied by Hades (the abode of the dead).

These forces have occurred throughout history, bringing limited destruction (the fourth of the earth of the last rider includes the first three). They are under Christ’s control, limited by Him. They are warnings to call all to repentance, while believers are comforted knowing it is Christ Who opens the scroll and summons these events to take place. Believe in His authority to control these forces until the final judgment and renewal of all things.

Suggestions for prayer

Having seen these forces at work throughout history, partial judgments, warning us to flee from the final judgment, give thanks that Jesus is in control of all history and through even these things is bringing about renewal and liberation from the curse of sin.

Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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