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Black Horse (Third Seal) of Revelation 6

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Black Horse - 3rd Seal

Revelation 6:5

The pair of balances in verse 5 symbolizes the poor spiritual condition within the church after the legalization of Christianity in the fourth century, when the church and state united.  The balance in the picture is from Pompeii.

Rev. 6:5 - 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. 

A period of Great Darkness and moral corruption from the time of Constantine and the establishment of the Papacy in 538 A.D. descended on the church.  This period is when the darkest errors and grossest superstition sprang up in the church.

Verse 6 - And I head 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.

Wheat and Barley for a penny denote the eager engagement of the members of the church after possessions, and the love of money would be the prevailing spirit of the times, for they would dispose of anything for money.

The oil and wine denotes graces of the Spirit, faith, and love, and there was great danger of hurting these under the influence of so much of a worldly spirit.  Historians say it was the prosperity of the church in this age produced the corruptions, which finally terminated in the falling away, and setting up the antichristian abominations.