Why are the four scourges of the apocalypse called "horsemen"?
The four horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in Revelation chapter 6, verses 1-8. The four horsemen are symbolic descriptions of different events which will take place in the end times. The first horseman of the Apocalypse is mentioned in Revelation 6:2: “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer”
This first horseman refers to the Antichrist, who will be given authority and will conquer all who oppose him. The antichrist is the false imitator of the true Christ, who will also return on a white horse (Revelation 19:11-16).
The bow, without an arrow signifies a threat. No arrow also refers to modern warfare, like a missile represents a weapon of distant combat. The rider on the horse does not actually cause war, he is the harbinger of war to come.
“and a crown was given unto him, and he went conquering to conquer”
The crown represents his authority to signal the beginning of warfare. The conquering to conquer reference means a cold war, brutality. Once the war begins, mayhem, there will be no compassion for anyone at all.
The first seal is a warning, as the white horse is a symbol of war.
The second horseman of the Apocalypse appears in Revelation 6:4 “And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword”
Red is a symbol of combat.
“and power was given to him that sat thereon, to take peace from the earth and that they should kill one another”
Everyone on the planets nature changes, they all engage in physical confrontations. There are no more apologies given or accepted, this marks the end of civility. People will take every confrontationas a fight to the death. “Hey, you stepped on my shoe” chop off your head, literally.
“and there was given him a great sword”
Symbolic of hand to hand combat, everyone will fight close up and personal at this point.
The third horseman is described in Revelation 6:5-6, “
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand, And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” Revelation 6:5–6
“I heard the third beast say”
This is the third of the four faces of the Cherub speaking,
“and lo, a black horse” - Symbol of death.
“and he that sat on him has a pair of balances in his hand” - The balances represent famine, the horse and balances together mean death from famine.
“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beast say”
This voice in the midst of the Cherub is the voice of the Wheel Angel (Ezekiel 1:15-21)
“A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny”
This means that provisions were now sold at prohibitive prices. The term “measure” represents scales that were used to weigh rations, these are symbols of famine. People would typically carry their own scales to guard against cheating on the weights.
“see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” - They set aside these items for the wealthy. Oil and wine could be produced without cultivation. The third horseman of the Apocalypse refers to a great famine that will take place, likely as a result of the wars from the second horseman.
The fourth horseman is mentioned in Revelation 6:8, “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth”
The pale horse represents famine. It is important to distinguish the meaning of the horse from the rider. Death comes for the physical body.
“and Hell followed with him”
Famine can kill you, Death takes you and Hell is a destination. Hell following Death, means when the famine or violence kills you, Death takes you right to Hell. Death is a Spirit, a Demonic Spirit. He acts as an escort of the souls of men into Hell, much like Angels who escort the souls of men to Paradise or today, Heaven (Luke 16:22).
Death is judged as the Demon he is, and like Satan, tossed into the Lake of Fire at the final judgment (Rev. 20:14).
“and with the beast of the earth” - This refers to animals turning on man and killing them. There are no pets of any kind animals become predators, including kittens, puppies, birds and bunny rabbits. All animals seek to eat man as a food source. So, not only do men seek to kill each other, your pets want to kill you too.
The fourth horseman of the Apocalypse will bring further warfare and terrible famines along with awful plagues and diseases. What is most amazing, or perhaps terrifying, is that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are just “precursors” of even worse judgments that come later in the tribulation (Revelation chapters 8–9 and 16).