By Bob Thiel
It was in 2014 that I believe I first heard of Pentecostal minister referring to Islam as the ‘fourth horse’ of the Apocalypse. I heard it again from the same source in 2015. Later that year, I found that another Protestant preacher taught that as well.
Is it possible that Islam is the fourth horse of Revelation?
Some Protestant Views
Here is the view of a Pentecostal minister named Irvin Baxter:
Revelation 6:1-8 depicts four riders on white, red, black and pale horses. These spirits have competed with each other and patrolled and dominated the earth for the entire last century. They certainly appear to fulfill Bible prophecies concerning the very Antichrist philosophic and political movements of Catholicism, Communism, Capitalism and Islam as we move towards the end of days.
The Fourth Horse “The Green Horse”
The translators of the King James Version of the Bible used the word “pale” for the fourth horse, which is better translated “green” from the original Greek word, “chloros.” Green is the universally identifiable color of Islam.
“And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with death.” (Revelation 6:8)
According to a 2013 report in muslimpopulation.com, Islam has 2.04 billion adherents, 23% of the world population, projected to be 2.8 billion by 2014. According to a 2013 report in The Economist magazine, over 70% of Muslims support Sharia law and 90% support execution of apostates.
The Mark of Islam: Death
The green horse is marked by death. Islam is associated around the world with the nearly 3,000 deaths in the 9/11 WorldTradeCenter attacks, and the over 22,594 deadly terror attacks around the world since that time, according to thereligionofpeace.com. It is the culture of death. Yet, Islam claims to be the “religion of peace.” (Islam in Bible Prophecy: The Four Horsemen in Bible Prophecy. http://www.endtime.com/islam/)
Here is something from a preacher named Ken Raggio:
Who are the Four Horsemen? Catholicism. Communism. Capitalism. Islam.
It’s in the Bible! …
THE FOURTH HORSE – The “Pale” Horse
NOW, I want to address one more very important component of this topic – the subject of the FOURTH HORSE – the Pale Horse. This one is too amazing to believe on first glance, but take my word for it; you WILL see the evidence shortly!
The translators of the original King James Version of the Bible (1611) gave us the word PALE for the fourth horse. Let’s look at how they came up with that. In the GREEK text, the word “chloros” is present. “Chloros” means GREEN. It is the same as seen in the world chlorophyll, which is the green color of plants. Obviously, the translators could not imagine a green horse, so provided the word “pale” instead. The Old Testament reference to the fourth horse in the KJV said, “grizzled and bay.” However, neither of those words appear in the ancient Hebrew. The best interpretation is “strong-colored” horse.
Therefore, when we look at the fourth horse in both Zechariah and Revelation, we see a “strong-colored” – “green” horse.
The universally identifiable color of Islam is green. Look at virtually ANYTHING that has to do with Islam, and you will see GREEN.
So, Islam is the green horse of death seen in Revelation 6:8. The prophecy there foretells Islam’s patrolling fully one-fourth of the earth, now 1.5 billion people.
Due to Islam’s growth and subsequent threats in even Western nations such as England, France, and Spain, anti-Americanism is flourishing in many new places. Islam is a driving force in more and more nations around the world, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, all the Eastern Block nations of Europe, Russia, and many others. Radical extremism around the globe, including cells in America pose increasing threats to Israel and America’s futures.
DEATH is the trademark of the GREEN HORSE. Can anyone question the accuracy of that prophecy when Islam today is associated around the world with the nearly 3000 deaths in the WorldTradeCenter attack of 9-11-01, and over 8,000 subsequent Muslim bombings around the world since that time? Where is this so-called “religion of peace”??
Muslim clerics cynically boast that the West loves life, but that Islam loves death. They teach their followers that the most glorious path to paradise is martyrdom – death by killing others while performing the act of suicide. …
In the first half of Daniel’s 70th week, (in the first 3.5 of the last 7 years before Armageddon) the Holy Roman Empire, also known as the European Union, backed by the Roman Catholic Church, will enjoy a short-termed renaissance, and global supremacy.
In the middle of that seven years, Antichrist will impose the Mark of the Beast with Roman Catholic Church endorsement.
But as Islam quickly takes over London, Madrid and other population centers of Europe, Islam is likely to challenge the Roman Catholic Church’s influence on politics. …
I predict that Islam will, at the end of the seven years, finally rise up to take control of Europe and simultaneously destroy the Roman Catholic Church. (Raggio K. The Four Horsemen of Revelation. Copyright 1988-2010. http://kenraggio.com/KRPN-CathComCap.htm)
Both Irvin Baxter and Ken Raggio teach that the first horse represents the Catholic Papacy, the second horse Communism, the third horse Capitalism, and the fourth horse Islam.
Is any or all of that right?
To determine that we need to look at the Bible and world history while we consider each of the four horsemen individually.
The Bible and the Four Horsemen
The four horsemen are listed in the Book of Revelation chapter 6. They are listed sequentially and each one begins to ride after a seal is open.
The first horsemen represents a successful false ecumenical religion:
1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2)
Could this represent some version of ‘catholicism’ as Irvin Baxter and Ken Raggio have claimed?
Well, if catholicism means ‘universalism,’ which it does, and those preachers mean a church that will use the term ‘Catholic’ to refer to itself, then yes, Irvin Baxter and Ken Raggio are correct. Basically, my read of scriptures, such as Daniel 11:36-38, Revelation 13:4-8, and Revelation 17, confirms that in the end time, a church of the city of seven hills that has political connections (Revelation 17) will be changed by the influences of a political leader (Revelation 13:1-10; Daniel 11:36-38) and false prophet (Revelation 13:11-18). They will be successful for a time, until their destruction will come (Revelation 19).
Now let’s look at the opening of the second seal. This second horsemen represents war:
3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)
Irvin Baxter and Ken Raggio have claimed that this second horseman represents communism. That is not the case. While red is the color of the communists, and communists have engaged in war, communism per se did not take peace from the earth. Communism did not actually cause World War I nor World War II. Nor will communism truly cause World War III. Ken Raggio’s and Irvin Baxter’s interpretation of this are wrong.
Now let’s look at the opening of the third seal. This third horsemen represents food shortages and famine:
5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)
Ken Raggio and Irvin Baxter have claimed that this third horseman is capitalism. That is not the case. Capitalism existed before communism, thus this interpretation of the third seal is in sequential error.
Furthermore (GMOs notwithstanding), history suggests that communism tends more to cause food shortages than capitalism. Irvin Baxter’s and Ken Raggio’s interpretation of communism being the third horse are wrong.
The Bible and the Fourth Horseman
But what does the Bible teach about the rider of the fourth horse?
This fourth horsemen represents pestilence and death:
7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7-8)
Irvin Baxter and Ken Raggio claim that this refers to Islam. They are correct that green is the predominant color of Islam. Mohammed’s favorite color was green and the Islamic prophet is said to have worn a green cloak and turban. Yet, Islam has not been killing people with hunger and by the beasts of the earth (pestilence). It has not killed a quarter of the earth’s population, nor will it (though this does not mean Islamic terrorists could not unleash any type of biological weapon).
Although certain of those now associated with Islam are prophesied to cause death (e.g. Psalm 83:4-8) and certain lands dominated by it look to be part of the final King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43), this type of killing would mainly be through terrorism and war. Islam most assuredly is NOT the fourth horseman of the apocalypse. Irvin Baxter and Ken Raggio are wrong about the identity of the fourth horseman, even if Islam does contribute to some of the prophesied deaths.
Also, Ken Raggio improperly claims that Islam will be the power at the end that destroys the compromised false ecumenical church based in the city of seven-hills (Revelation 17:9, 18) that will call itself Catholic. While that church will be destroyed, it will be by the European Beast power according to scripture (Revelation 17:15-18).
Let me state that the Bible does tell of a power in the predominantly Muslim lands of the Middle East and North Africa rising up, but being destroyed by the European King of the North power (Daniel 11:40-43; cf. Ezekiel 30:3-8)—the Bible does not tie Islam to any of the horses of Revelation.
Overall, Irvin Baxter and Ken Raggio are wrong about their identification of three of the four horsemen of Revelation 6. Yet, they both have followings, as do other churches with differing views on this topic. Those who want to live as a Christian should pay attention to biblical prophecy, but need to be careful that they do not follow those that are in significant prophetic and doctrinal error.
What Can Be Expected During The Ride of the Fourth Horsemen?
Notice the following by former Worldwide Church of God writer George Ritter:
Epidemics Of The Future
The world has yet to see the last of widespread disease epidemics. That, in effect, was what Jesus Christ told His disciples in the pivotal Olivet prophecy recorded in Matthew 24 and Luke 21.
Right along with wars and famine came pestilence: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matt. 24:7). These were some of the prophetic signs that Christ listed in answering the question, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]?” (Verse 3.)
Granted, pestilence, famine and war have been ongoing problems that have plagued mankind ever since the dawn of history. But the main thrust of Christ’s message is futuristic. The overall context of the Olivet prophecy readily attests to this fact. In verses 21 and 22 of Matthew 24, Christ referred to a time when the total annihilation of human life would be a distinct possibility.
Only with the recent development of multiple-megaton nuclear weaponry could such an event have become a reality.
The book of Revelation also underscores the fact that such tumultuous times are yet in store for the future. John’s apocalyptic scenario centers around the events surrounding the Day of the Lord (Rev.1:10). In the sixth chapter we see war, famine and pestilence (the last three of the four horsemen of John’s vision) riding together at this critical juncture in world history.
The Pale Horseman Rides
With both the black horse of famine and the red horse of war riding roughshod over the earth, it is only natural for the pale horse of pestilence to follow hard on their heels. Ezekiel also described the devastating effect this deadly triad can have: “A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part in to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them” (Ezek. 5:12).
Parallel prophecies found in the Old Testament clearly indicate why man will continue to suffer from the ravages of disease. Notice this cause-and-effect relationship as outlined in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy: “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God,” warns man’s Creator, “the Lord will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from off the land, which you go to possess. The Lord will smite you with consumption [wasting, degenerative disease], with fever and inflammation [possibly infectious contagions)…. and the tumors, the scurvy [deficiency disease] and the itch, of which you cannot be healed. The Lord will smite you with madness [mental disorders] and blind-ness and dismay of heart [emotional trauma]” (verses 15, 21-22, 27-28, The Amplified Bible).
Misgovernment, greed and oppression over the course of nearly 6000 years of history have saddled the human race with the unwanted burden of disease. For instance, man’s proclivity to crowd into disease — prone cities is indicative of this problem. And it is interesting to note that Bible prophecy seems to indicate that this crowd-at-all-costs policy will eventually backfire on the human race. Notice Leviticus 26:25: “… And when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you… .” Also Ezekiel 7:15: “The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him.” (4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse – The Pale Horse – Disease Epidemics. Ambassador College Press, 1975)
In modern times, the spread of diseases is so much easier than in more ancient times.
Notice some comments from the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the potential to spread disease related to the 2011 movie Contagion:
The movie tells the story of a novel virus that spreads across the globe rapidly, with scientists and the public following its every move. The idea of a contagion such as this is very real…the plot of a new, deadly virus spreading quickly is quite plausible. In fact, CDC and public health partners identify, on average, one new or emerging infectious disease each year. The movie is a reminder that public health at local, state, national, and global levels must be supported to quickly detect, investigate, and respond to outbreaks and keep Americans safe from health, safety, and security threats arising in this country or anywhere in the world.
The film underscores that we are all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink…Contagion shows that fear is also contagious. (Frieden T. CDC Director on ‘Contagion’: Deadly Viruses Could Spread Fast. The Atlantic, September 10, 2011)
Humankind is at risk. And modern travel and other practices are placing humanity at even greater risk. The ride of the pale/green horseman of death will result in deaths from pestilences.
I would also like to comment about fear as the Contagion movie involved that. In a recent trip to Europe, I noticed that some Asian-appearing individuals (and only Asians, and then mainly women) were wearing masks to presumably reduce their risk of catching airborne diseases in airports and some other places. Washing hands and wearing masks sometimes do have limited benefit, and it is possible that in times of epidemic that some (though not all) may benefit from these actions.
The fourth horseman of the apocalypse will result in death of a quarter of humankind (Revelation 6:8). Just like bodily exercise can benefit for a little while, physical hygiene steps may also benefit some for a little while, yet turning to God and living His ways are what we need to do:
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:8-11)
Yes, it is possible that those who take certain physical precautions will fare better than those that do not. Yet godliness is profitable in all things.
Hold Fast to that Which is Good
Do not overlook what the scriptures say. And in regards to prophecy, in the ContinuingChurch of God:
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19, KJV).
The Bible says:
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV)
Although the fourth horseman will one day this century begin his ride, Islam is NOT the fourth horse of the Apocalypse.