Revelation 6:7-8 God uses famine, pestilence and war not to punish but to bring about repentance and revival

Revelation 6:7-8  God uses famine, pestilence and war not to punish but to bring about repentance and salvation

When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.


The breaking of the fourth seal ushers in a time where many will die either through war, famine or pandemics. However, for the righteous, death is only the beginning of a glorious existence. But for the unrighteous, judgement awaits them. That said, the events under the fourth teach us that humanity is not in control, and we must love our neighbour and look out for each other. If our nation fear God and walk in His ways, He will not allow the rider on the ashen horse to have authority over us. Today’s devotion teaches us: God uses famine, pestilence and war not to punish but to bring about repentance and salvation.


Ashen (kloros in Greek) means “green, pale green” often used to describe the colour of grass. In Revelation 9:4, “pan kloros” literally “every green thing” means “every plant”. Kloros also means “pale greenish grey” the colour associated with faces of the sick and the pallor of corpses. Hence, ashen connotes sickness, fear and death.

The rider of the ashen horse is named Death, and is followed by Hades. Thus, Death is one who rules over Hades. In other words, Death is a person while Hades is his kingdom. Both Death and Hades are personified together in many OT passages (Isaiah 28:15,18; Hosea 13:14; Psalm 18:5-6, 49:14, 116:3). Hades is often used to translate the Hebrew term Sheol. “You will not abandon my soul to Sheol” (Psalm 16:10) is quoted in Acts 2:27 as “you will not abandon my soul to Hades”. Most Christian traditions see Hades as a holding ground until the Day of Judgment; it is an intermediate state of souls between death and the Judgment. After the Judgment, the Righteous will go to their eternal reward and the Accursed will depart into Hell. 

In the Old Testament, God often uses famine, pestilence, war and evil beast to discipline Israel (see Ezekiel 5:15-17, 6:12; Deuteronomy 32:23-25; Jeremiah 14:12; 15:3). Here, authority is given to the rider to inflict famine, pestilence, war and evil beast on a quarter of the earth’s population. 


God uses famine, pestilence and war not to punish but to bring about repentance and salvation.

We see in biblical history, when people turn away from the truth, God uses famine, pestilence and wars to cause them to realise their sin and to repent. We see that in the days of Moses, King David and Jesus. 

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” – Luke 13:1-5

Therefore, the earlier we come to the realisation of our shortcomings, the earlier we will experience peace and prosperity in our nation.

What can we learn from the disastrous events around us?

– Humanity is not in control

The COVID-19 pandemic that began in the year 2020 awoke humanity to the reality we are not in control. That, despite man’s advancement in science and technology, there are forces that are beyond us. There are rich nations that possess stockpiles of vaccines, but many died. There are nations with no vaccines, yet the death rate is very low. Indeed, God is working amidst the nations to save those who are humble. Hence, humanity must look to God who is ultimately in control of all things. God’s word says, “So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10).

– We must love our neighbour

Following the pandemic, we witnessed a spate of famines and economic turmoils; the stagnation of economies, failures of the banks, and global inflation. These famines teach us how important it is to love and look out for our neighbour. Some nations are gifted with good leadership and their citizens are well protected. But many nations are not that fortunate. That said, within every nation there is a class that is most vulnerable to economic famines. Therefore, economic famines pose an opportunity to reawaken in us the gift of a charitable heart, gratitude for the ability to reach out and help someone in distress, to comfort our neighbour by holding their hand.

– We must trust the Lord and fear Him always

The unrighteous are guided by unquenchable thirst for power and lust. They take whatever they wish and do not hesitate to kill. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused much suffering much to the dismay even to ordinary Russians. Although we cannot stop the unrighteous from encroaching into our territory, God will strengthen us to repel and overcome them. If the Ukrainians repent, God will be just to heal their land. God promises, “The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.” – Psalm 37:29. When we trust in God, God become our refuge and fortress. He will protect us amid the deadly pestilence for He is the Lord of any pestilence (Habakkuk 3:5). The psalmist wrote…

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked. – Psalm 91:1-8

If we fear God continually, He ensures our abundance and prosperity even in the times of famine.

The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance. – Psalm 37:18-19


Whenever we read about disasters (natural or man-made), outbreak of diseases, war, or shootings, we must not be terrified but rather learn to fear God. If we trust in God and walk in His ways, God will keep us and our nations save and prosperity.


Dear Lord, I recognise that I am not the creator but only a creature. Hence, I humble myself under your mighty hands and submit to your ways. I acknowledge that I am not in control of my circumstances and seek your wisdom and power. I commit myself to look out for those who are in need and serve them. I believe that if my nation will repent to walk humbly, mercifully and justly, the rider on the ashen horse will have no authority over us. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

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