Revelation 6:5-6 (NASB) When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

The color black is representative of darkness. It is a symbol for death, of satan and his underworld. This was particularly the case in the medieval times, when the “Black Death” was one of the most devastating times in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people and peaking in Europe in the years 1346–53. Quite to the point is the prophecy of Zechariah 6:2, 6, 8 NASB where the black horse goes to the “land of the north,” where the “wrath of God is appeased.” In Revelation 6:5, the color black apparently symbolizes famine, which is frequently associated with death, particularly as the after-fruit of war.

The prophecy of the 3rd seal envisions a time of economic crisis the world has never known; or, at least since the time of the Dark Ages when the bubonic plague killed millions. The result of such a pandemic is not limited to disease, death, but also, the fruit of disease and death, the failing of world economies. Food being measured by weight envisions a time when food is rationed. Revelation 6 prophesies of precisely such an event. In the 1st century, the economic language was different than today. A denarius was equal to a day’s wage.1 Matthew 20:2. When a day’s wage only pays for a day’s food for one person, it is a time of economic crisis; people will be unable to provide for their families (in the 1st century, a denarius paid for 8 -1 0 x this amount). The law of supply and demand determines the higher price. Barley was the peasant’s food, in fact, the food for animals. In this time, economic crisis will be so great that everyone will eat food normally fed to animals; and, thee times a day’s food for the food for an animal will take a day’s wage for the single worker. The point — even the most basic of foods, bread and water (not steak and potatoes) will cost a full day’s wage. The final characteristic is “not to damage the oil and the wine.” In times of economic crisis the rich will not be impacted. In fact, in most economic downtimes, the rich become richer (and the poor become poorer). Interesting isnt it that it is “oil” that is not damaged.

How does this relate to the world we live in? Consider the words of politicians and leaders of the world who would not mention potential calamities for fear of creating an epidemic of fear in the world we live in.

The Wall Street Journal online reports:

The International Monetary Fund Wednesday proposed expanding its emergency lending to the three worst-hit countries—Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where the crisis is already slashing growth prospects as fear of the virus has prompted farmers to abandon their fields, shop owners to shutter their stores and manufacturers to cut output. The loss of revenue and other crisis costs are overwhelming the governments’ budgets. But Mr. Kim said if the virus continues to spread, it could send the three nations into an economic depression next year. “This would deal a potentially catastrophic blow to their already fragile economies,” he said. … A senior IMF official said Ebola was having an “unprecedented” economic impact on the economies. Previous contagions, such as the SARS and HIV epidemics, wreaked economic havoc in Asia and Africa, but were either in larger economies that could handle the fallout or the crisis took longer to develop. The Ebola epidemic, however, is striking small, fragile economies. …  Without stronger international efforts, the crisis could metastasize into a far larger humanitarian and economic disaster, IMF and World Bank officials warn. The three countries worst hit only represent 5% of West Africa’s gross domestic product. There’s already some spillover into neighboring countries such as Senegal and Gambia, where fear of the disease is taking a toll on a major economic driver, tourism. … The bank’s worst-case scenario imagines a slow containment in the three hard-hit nations and likely broader regional contagion. That would push Liberia and Sierra Leone into deep economic contractions next year and cause larger problems for the growth across the continent. … “That impact could be much, much larger…on the order of billions of dollars” said Francisco Ferreira, the bank’s chief economist for the Africa region. Read more.

What do you do with the truth of what is about to occur in the world we live in? Run to Jesus. He is the only answer to the sin we have brought upon ourselves.

Jesus come quickly.


  1. Aune, D. E. (1998). Revelation 6–16 (Vol. 52B, p. 397). Dallas: Word, Incorporated. []