|“||And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, by famine, by plague, and by the beasts of the earth.||„|
|~ Revelations 6:8, which tells of the coming of the Four Horsemen.|
The Horsemen of the Apocalypse are arguably one of the most famous Biblical villains other then Satan himself, though they are not necessarily entirely fueled by malice. Acting as divine harbingers of the End Times, these four beings embody four apocalyptic forces that are said to be granted authority to bring destruction upon the world during the first few years of the Tribulation, a 7 year period where all of humanity shall suffer the wrath of the Antichrist and God's judgments. Surprisingly, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are merely precursors of even worse divine judgments that will arrive later during the Tribulation.
The Horsemen of the Apocalypse, alongside the Antichrist and the Beast, were popular figures in doomsday writings and continue to fascinate many, though they are seen more as symbolic figures in modern belief than literal beings.
Depending on which view one takes the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are either prophecized to arrive during the End Times or have already ravaged Earth - this is due to conflicting theories on whether or not the events of Revelation depict the actual end of the world or simply chronicle events that have already occured.
In many orthodox Abrahamic sects however the End Times are seen as a future event - for this reason the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are often still brought up in modern times, especially as means to demonize opponents or warn of great social ills.
Due to representing war, plague, famine and pestilence the Horsemen can also be considered the primordial manifestations of mankind's collective enemies - who only God can control and ultimately vanquish : due to this divine authority the Horsemen are forbidden to harm any who God deems faithful, who are either granted immunity from the curses the Horsemen can inflict or are alternatively taken personally by God to Heaven in order to escape the rule of the Horsemen (an event known as the Rapture).
Riding upon a white horse was the Horseman of Conquest. This Horseman is one of confusion among theologians as some believe he is representative of divine conquest (and thus a force of good) while others think of him as a representative of unlawful conquest (and thus a force of evil).
Regardless of his morality, the Horseman of Conquest is said to arrive and sweep across the world, unleashing civil war and internal strife (which separates him from War, who embodies more open warfare).
Riding upon a red horse was the fearsome Horseman of War, who caused open warfare across the land of man. Unlike Conquest, the Horseman of War specializes in waging war between nations and people rather than internal strife. The color of the horse coupled with the rider's sword symbolizes the great bloodshed that must ultimately befall the world, and to some, he also symbolizes divine wrath and spiritual warfare, making him even more formidable than he already appears.
Riding on a black horse was the dreaded Horseman of Famine who rides onward, denying the world life-sustaining food and bringing starvation, but being ordered by divine law to not harm oil or wine. (This has been seen by some as a symbolism for the Christian faith, suggesting the order was to not harm those of true faith.) In his hands are a pair of weighing-scales, which were commonly used to weigh bread during times of famine in antiquity.
Riding upon a pale horse was the most famous of all the horsemen, and the only one to be specifically named in scripture, Death, being given authority to kill men and animal alike. The fearsome spirit was accompanied by Hades itself, and was said to sweep across the land, bringing an end to life by sword, famine and other woes.
Unlike the other three Horsemen, Death has also been specifically mentioned in texts surrounding the Day of Judgement where God himself takes both Hades and Death, alongside Satan and all his followers, and places them in the Lake of Fire for all of eternity. Also, unlike the other three fellow horsemen, the Horseman of Death carries a scythe, which is commonly the well-known weapon of the Grim Reaper that is the personification of Death itself.