OPENING THE FOURTH SEAL
The fourth seal is about death and chaos, conditions which slaughter mankind. It began in the time of
Christ and continues to the end time, when these conditions become even worst. There is an important
message in the fourth seal for those who are indifferent to God and those who think the struggle
between Christ and Satan will not affect them. Here is the scripture.

"And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 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." (Rev. 6:7,8).

V. T. Houteff has given his heaven sent understanding of this scripture in both "The Shepherd Rod,"
Volume 2 and the tract "To The Seven Churches, The Breaking Of The Seven Seals." Here are some of
his comments.

""As the Old Testament time closes with the third seal, the New begins with the opening of the fourth
seal. Consequently, the pale horse and the non-descript beast of Daniel 7:7, 8, occupy the same period.
Evidently one beast must resemble the other or the symbol would not be perfect. Rome was symbolized
by a non-descript beast because its government was a mixture of civil and religious laws, with Pagan and
Christian doctrines. Therefore, it was beyond description as previously explained. The pale horse has
the same meaning, for his complexion is faint, wanting, not having a specific or definite color. Pale -- non-
descript."

""The rider represents the ruling heads of government. His name is Death. "Death and Hell [hades or
grave as in the revised version] followed with him." This is a perfect description of the unjust,
persecuting Roman power, corresponding to the beast as Daniel saw it: "It devoured and brake in
pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it." In the opening of the fourth seal, Rome, under the
symbol of the non-descript beast in both his stages (imperial and papal) persecuted its subjects for their
religious belief, and millions lost their lives. Therefore, "Death and Hell [grave] 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." Here is given the exact time in which imperial and
papal Rome would hold sway over the earth, to kill the followers of Christ by means of these various
forms of cruelty. Again, note the perfection of the Scriptures using the pronoun "them," meaning both
imperial and papal Rome, also civil and religious authority. Note the first part of the sentence. "And
power was glven unto them over the fourth part of the earth." This present world, from creation to its
end or the beginning of the millennium, shall number 6,000 years. The pale horse rider was to have
power over a fourth part of the earth. We divide 6,000 into four equal parts, and we have 1500 years.
Therefore, the cruel and unjust persecution by Rome was to lose its power at the end of the 1500 years
or the fourth part. That is exactly what happened. At that time Martin Luther arose against the papacy and
inflicted the deadly wound, by the instrument of truth -- "The just shall live by faith." And the result was
that Protestantism came on the stage of action in opposition to the papacy. Up to the beginning of the
fifteenth century the papacy reigned supreme as a king of kings, by the iron arm of the state in the garb
of so-called spiritual authority; but at that time her power was broken."

""From the crucifixion of Christ to the "Augsburg Confession," a document compiled by Luther,
constituted a period of 1500 years. This document was signed by the protestant states and adopted as
their creed, and was a protest against the pope. So at the time appointed, their power Pagan and Papal,
was broken. (See "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 1, pp. 209-222.) Thus perfectly fulfilling the symbolical
prophecy that "power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth." Here is a truth that
overthrows the idea that the earth has been in existence for longer than 6,000 years. It also proves the
application of the seals to be absolutely correct."" (V. T. Houteff, "The Shepherd's Rod," Vol. 2, 1932, p.
211).

Houteff was a man of his time (he died in 1955), wise enough to pick his battles. With the unrolling of the
scroll, it is easier to see that the 6000 years, which churches in Houteff's time taught as fact, was a
parable rather than an actual time frame. "Then said I, Ah Lord God! they say of me, Doth he not speak
parables?" (Ez. 20:49). Speaking the Word of God, Ezekiel opened his mouth to speak parables. Not only
does God speak in parables, He also speaks in sustained metaphors (prophetic imagery), and outright
mysteries (the great beasts of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17, which Houteff explained, for example).
By the time of the seventh trumpet, all these parables and metaphors and mysteries will be understood.
"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound (his trumpet), the
mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets." (Rev. 10:7).

A parable particularly has a message. Part of the message of the 6000 year parable is seen in the words
of Houteff quoted above, the 1500 year persecution of the true followers of Christ by Satan's ministry. But
there are two other lessons. The 6000 years is derived from the creation (six days) and from the words of
Peter (a thousand years). "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that
one day is with the Lord as
a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day
." (2 Peter 3:8).

The six days of Creation, followed by a day of rest which God blessed, teach us of the true Sabbath, a
symbol of the Covenant between God and mankind, and our claim on His mercy in the time of judgments,
the end time. (See Exodus 20:5-11). The six thousand years are a prophecy of the Millennium Kingdom, a
thousand year Sabbatical (Sabbath rest) from sin in government which follows 6000 years of Satan
deceiving the nations.

The Encyclopedia Britannica devotes over twenty pages to a staggering number of attempts to
determine the age of earth, using a large number of natural phenomenon as measuring devices. Old
estimates place the age of the earth at over 100 million years, more modern dating suggests the earth is
several billion years old. For our purposes, the
parable of six days and 6000 years teaches lessons that
such vast numbers do not.

Houteff interpreted the fourth seal in a symbolic way. There is also an absolutely literal interpretation.
This truth came forth near the end of the 1500 years and carries a message for the end time. Here is the
scripture again: "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 (Death and Hell) over the fourth part of the earth, to
kill with sword (war), and with hunger (famine), and with death (disease, natural causes), and with the
beasts of the earth (both wild animals and the great empires, symbolized as beasts in Daniel 7 and
Revelation 13 and 17, which persecute and kill Christians)." (Rev. 6:7,8).

Houteff's work covered the persecution of Christians. The sword, hunger and death came from God in a
just retribution for the slaying of his saints. I'm going to quote Wikipedia to show what I mean. Wicca is
Old English for a male witch (pronounced wick a), wicce for a female witch, so mostly I regard Wikipedia
as a highly suspect part of the disinformation superhighway. However, this is ancient history, what
encyclopedia could badly misrepresent the Black Death of 1347. "The total number of deaths worldwide
is estimated at 75 million people, approximately 25–50 million of which occurred in Europe. The Black
Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population. It may have reduced the world's
population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400."

"Whether or not this hypothesis is accurate, it is clear that several pre-existing conditions such as war,
famine, and weather contributed to the severity of the Black Death. In China, the thirteenth century
Mongol conquest disrupted farming and trading, and led to widespread famine. The population dropped
from approximately 120 to 60 million. The 14th century plague is estimated to have killed 1/3 of the
population of China." (Wikipedia, Black Death).

A series of factors made the plague years so deadly. "In Europe, the Medieval Warm Period ended
sometime towards the end of the thirteenth century, bringing harsher winters and reduced harvests. In
the years 1315 to 1317 a catastrophic famine, known as the Great Famine, struck much of North-West
Europe... The European economy entered a vicious circle in which hunger and chronic, low-level
debilitating disease reduced the productivity of labourers, and so the grain output was reduced..."
(Wikipedia, Black Death). In these quotes we have war (the sword), hunger (famine), and disease (death).

God is the source of all power. For example, Christ received total power from God. "And Jesus came and
spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." (Matt. 28:18). So, when this
scripture says that "power was given unto them," with reference to Death and Hell, that power came from
God. I emphasize again, God will repay the murder of His saints.

Each of the seals opens and continues into the end time, with a powerful manifestation in the final days
during God's judgments. The first seal began with Adam, the man of the white horse. It ends with God's
warrior, Faithful and True. The second seal opens with a trifling war, and ends with a world wide war in
which the nations destroy each other. The third seal opens with the rise of the merchant princes and
ends with their judgment in the balances. This fourth seal opens with the ministry of Christ and the
persecution of Christians and God's retribution on the earth. The fourth seal ends in the seven last
plagues, and Christ's return just before the beginning of the seventh plague. (See Revelation 16.)

That brings us to the message in this seal for those who don't care about the actions of God and think
they will be unaffected by the end time. The struggle between Christ and Satan overflowed Europe,
(where the Christians were), and killed about a quarter of the population of the earth.

Particularly Christians should understand God's intentions. Those nations that persecute His people will
feel His wrath. "And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know
that I am the Lord, when I shall lay My vengeance upon them." (Ez. 25:17). Those nations that protect His
people will experience His mercy, even as His wrath falls on His enemies. "Rejoice, O ye nations, with His
people (sheltered within): for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His
adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people." (Deut. 32:43).

Amo Paul Bishop Roden