Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are among the most important of
the great Bible symbols because they give
the key to the nature of man as we know him. When you understand
these symbols thoroughly you will understand your own make-up,
and you will be able to begin the work of getting dominion over
yourself and over your surroundings.
Bible is not written in the style of a modern book. It has a method
all its own of conveying knowledge through picturesque symbols,
the reason being that this is the only possible way in which knowledge
could be given to people in all ages in different parts of the
world and of different degrees of spiritual development.
Bible is not full of predictions. The Bible does not undertake
to say just what is going to happen in the future, because if
this could be done it could only mean that we have no free will.
the future is all arranged now, what would be the use of praying
or studying metaphysics?
did Jesus pray for so many hours, if he could not change anything?
of course, you can change the future and the present by prayer,
and indeed, it is your attitude that makes or mars you—makes
you sick or well, happy or sad, stupid or wise.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse stand for the four parts or elements
of our human nature as we find it today. As we know ourselves
we seem to be made up of four parts.
is, first of all, the physical body—the thing that you
see when you look in the mirror.
there is your feeling nature or emotions. This is an extremely
important part of you, and although you cannot see your feelings,
you are tremendously conscious of them.
is your intellect. You cannot see this either, but
you are quite aware of its existence, because it contains
every bit of knowledge, important or unimportant, that you
there is your spiritual nature, or your real eternal
Self; the true you, the I Am, the Indwelling Christ, the Divine
Spark, or what you please to call it. This is your real identity,
which is eternal. Almost everyone believes in its existence,
but for the most part people are very little conscious of
it as an actuality.
of metaphysics are aware that ultimately the time will come when
the first three will be merged into the fourth, and then we shall
all know instead of only believing that our
spiritual Identity is our reality. Meanwhile, however, this is
not the case, and so we find ourselves living with these four
elements of our Nature—and the Bible calls them the Four
first horse we shall consider is the pale horse and "pale"
means the color of terror.
Perhaps you have seen terror depicted on a human contenance—I
do not mean just nervousness or moderate fear, but terror.
It is not a pleasant sight. The skin turns a kind of ashen
gray, and this is the color of the Pale Horse. "And his
name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed after him."
the Pale Horse means the physical
body, and here we are told that
he who rides on him is death, and that hell follows hard after.
you are that kind of horseman, if you live but for the body, there
is nothing but hell awaiting you on this plane or anywhere else.
People who live for the body are to be pitied. The body is the
most cruel taskmaster of all, when it is allowed to be the ruler.
person who lives for eating and drinking and sensuality brings
nothing but destruction into his life right here on this plane.
To him old age brings decrepitude and emptiness, and probably
pain and discomfort too.
the Pale Horse does not mean only the physical body. It means
all other physical things too—what the Bible sometimes calls
the "world”—money, position, material honors.
If you put money before everything else, you are riding the Pale
Horse. Money is your God, and you will probably get it, but you
will be sorry, because hell follows after.
Other people do not care for money, but they do crave worldly
honor and distinction. They want to be important or special. They
want to be looked up to. They are not thinking of how much good
they can do in the world, but how much attention they can get.
They are riding the Pale Horse, and hell follows after.
is the Red Horse? The Red Horse is your emotional
nature, your feelings. Your
human (ego) mind, as you know it, consists of two parts, intellect
and feeling. Every thought that you can think has two parts,
a knowledge content and a feeling content.
mathematics, to take an extreme case, the feeling content is almost
absent. On the other end of the scale are thoughts connected with
religion and politics. We all know how full of feeling these subjects
are. People feel so strongly about them that they are generally
tabooed at social gatherings—and yet the amount of real
knowledge that most people have concerning them is surprisingly
instance, few people have really studied the doctrines of the
particular church to which they belong. Yet they feel very strongly
about them and are apt to resent the slightest criticism concerning
them. The intellectual content of such thoughts is very small.
It is very dangerous to allow your emotions to have control—to
allow the Red Horse to run away with you, for he will undermine
your health and wreck your life in every phase.
Red Horse is just as dangerous as the Pale Horse, but he is not
so obviously base, and for this reason he wrecks many more lives.
adult person is a person who is master of his feelings. A person
who is not in charge of his feelings is still a child, even though
he be a hundred years old. If you are not master of your emotions,
your emotions will control you and wreck you. This does not mean
that emotion or feeling is a bad thing in itself. It means that
uncontrolled emotion is a bad thing.
strong emotional nature is a like a great powerful automobile.
If you learn to master it, it is a fine thing. It will take you
wherever you want to go, through the roughest country, because
it is full of power. But if you do not control it, if you do not
understand how to steer it, or if you are stupid and step on the
gas when you ought to step on the brake, the car destroys itself
and you with it, just because it is so powerful.
strong emotional nature is a splendid endowment if you are the
master, but if it is mastering you, you are riding the Red Horse;
and if you are riding the Red Horse you had better get off as
soon as possible.
do you know if you are riding the Red Horse?
if you get excited over nothing at all, if you get angry and indignant
about trifles, particularly when it happens to be none of your
business; if you are trying to run other people's lives and getting
excited about that, then you are riding the Red Horse—and
you had better get off. The time when you learn to control your
feelings is the time you will begin to make something of your
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.'" Revelations
pair of scales, that is, a balance such as a grocer or a druggist
uses, is here a symbol of famine or lack. The Black Horse stands
for the intellect, and if you ride
the Black Horse you will get famine and starvation of the soul.
few people ride the Black Horse as compared with the number of
those who ride the Red one, but some do, and the civilized world
as a whole has been riding it for several centuries.
ride the Black Horse does not mean having a good intellect. That
is not a bad thing at all. In fact, a great many people, particularly
in the religious world, would be much better off with a little
more intellect than they have.
the Black Horse is letting your intellect dominate you to the
exclusion of the emotional and spiritual nature. It is a good
thing to have the intellect well trained and polished by use,
but it is a misfortune to let it be the master.
human intellect cannot give you the truth about God. If you try
to live without knowledge of God, without prayer or spiritual
contact, you are certain sooner or later to reach a condition
of depression and disappointment, for that is the fate of the
Horseman on the Black Horse.
civilization has been definitely riding the Black Horse since
the close of the Middle Ages. The Renaissance rediscovered the
intellect and that was a splendid achievement, but western civilization
did not keep the intellect in its place. It was allowed to become
development has given man the power to make high explosives, for
example, and to build submarines and aircraft, but because his
spiritual development has lagged so far behind his intellectual
achievements, he uses these things for destruction and tyranny.
the understanding of true religion kept pace with scientific discovery,
such knowledge would be used for the enlightenment and happiness
of mankind instead of for its destruction. All this is riding
the Black Horse.
we have the solution of all our problems. "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." Revelations
White Horse is the Spiritual Nature,
and the man or woman who rides the White Horse gets freedom,
and joy, and ultimate happiness and harmony; because the White
Horse is the realization of the Presence of God.
you put God first in your life, when you refuse to limit God,
when you will no longer say that God cannot do something, when
you trust God with your whole heart, you are riding the White
Horse, and it is only a question of time until you shall be free—when
the day will break and the shadows flee away. The White Horse
will carry you to health and freedom and self-expression; to a
knowledge of God, and finally the Realization of Him.
are told two very interesting things about the Horseman on the
White Horse: The Bible says that he that sat on him had a bow.
The bow and arrow is an ancient symbol of the spoken Word. The
spoken Word brings things to pass. When you speak the Word you
shoot an arrow. It goes where you aim it and it cannot be recalled,
nor can it return void.
the Word does not have to be spoken audibly. Silent prayer is
usually more powerful than audible prayer. The Horseman on the
White Horse speaks the Word.
on the White Horse wears a crown, and the crown has
always been the symbol of victory. Whoever wins in a struggle
gets the crown. The Greeks used to give a crown of palms to
the winner of a race, and all through history kings have been
crowned. The crown is the symbol of victory, and the rider on
the White Horse is always the victor.
then, is the story of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
you want peace of mind, if you want healing, happiness, prosperity,
and freedom; above all, if you want an understanding of God,
there is only one way—you must ride the White Horse.
you are interested only in material things, or if you are letting
your emotions run away with you, or if you are trying to judge
eternal values by finite intellectual standards, you are riding
one of the other horses and only trouble can come to you.
fatal defect in the Roman Empire was that it rode the Pale Horse,
and we know what happened to it.
own civilization for about four hundred years has ridden the
Black Horse, and we see what has come of that. Now, however,
I believe that humanity is ready, or nearly ready, to climb
upon the White Horse, and we must all help it to do so in every
way that we can by prayer and by personal example.
then, is the way in which human nature, as we know it, is made
up. We seem to have four elements, but as a student of metaphysics
you know that only one of these is real and eternal.
of course, is your Spiritual Nature. Some day you will realize
this and then the other elements will fade away into nothing,
leaving you spiritual, complete, and perfect. That event, however,
will not come yet; and in the meantime you have to understand
the fourfold nature in order that you may be master of it.