The Way It Happened

Revelation 6:5-6, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Part IV of V

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!”

//Continuing our discussion of the four horsemen and how they relate to the events of the first century, we come now to the color black. As expressed by Jeremiah, the black horse brings famine. The famine during the Jerusalem war grew so devastating that at one point, a woman named Mary boiled and ate her own son.

The words this horseman speaks are fascinating. Read them again, and compare them to what first-century Jewish historian Josephus reports of the Jerusalem war: “Many there were indeed who sold what they had for one quart; it was of wheat, if they were of the richer sort, but of barley, if they were poorer.”

Revelation later bemoans how the merchants profited from this wheat, olive oil and wine. This unnamed voice that says “do not damage the oil and the wine” for some reason makes a deep impression on Revelation’s author. No surprise: When General Titus captured the Temple in the war of 70 A.D., he gave explicit orders not to destroy the oil and wine in the Temple so they could be retained and sold to the rich.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>