Bible Prophecy Research
Title: The Winds in Revelation
Submitted by: John Brough
Date: May, 2000
The Winds in Revelation:
6:1-8 THE APOCALYPTIC HORSEMEN.
Background Ideas: -
(1) The seven seals depict events which affect the whole world in its manner
of living. This is suggested by the fact the scroll is the title deed of the
whole earth, not just of a part of it. The Trumpets, on the other hand, seem
to deal with events in a more limited geographical area, Palestine and the
nations affecting it.
(2) The symbolism is drawn from Zechariah 1:8-11, 6:1-8 where they are four
spiritual forces that go out to bring judgement on Israel. They appear to be
related to the four Gentile empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and
Rome - which were interpreted by the prophets to be God's rod of discipline
on rebellious Israel (see Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28). However in the
process of each one fulfilling its God appointed role each in turn got proud
and so became the victim of another judgement of God brought on them in the
form of the next empire in its turn.
This was their historical task, but by John's time this task was fulfilled
so they are free to do other work. They are spiritual beings and so do not
cease to exist simply because their first task is completed, God simply
assigns new tasks. Instead of judging Israel they are to bring judgement on
Hence we should expect their work in the End Times to be similar to their
previous work - they will direct nations to war with each other to bring
devastation and judgement. In particular they are aspects of the Spirit of
Antichrist (see notes on Revelation 17) and so will bring about the
(3) The point of these Horsemen is to tell us that even at the time of the
end God is still in control. The Antichrist's empire will be the most evil
empire to ever have been on the earth, but even this is under God's direct
(4) C/f Zechariah 6:5,6 "four winds" = "the four horsemen". Hence they are
to be identified in Revelation 7:1 with the winds. This fluidity of
symbolism happens often in prophecy so we should not be surprised at the
change of title.
If we look at the four living creatures of Ch4 from an astrological
viewpoint we see that they represent the "four corners" of the Zodiac, hence
the four directions - North, East, West, South. Hence there seems to be some
sort of association of the four creatures with the four winds, or horsemen.
This again illustrates the fluidity of symbolism in REVELATION.
7:1 "After this I saw" - indicating a new vision, this is not an integral
part of the seven seals. Hence it does not necessarily fit into the
chronology of events that are happening on earth as described in ch 6.
"four angels...four corners of the earth...four winds".
The four winds are not the natural winds but (as we have seen) are the
spiritual rulers of the four Gentile empires, the apocalyptic horsemen.
These four winds are evil, but here are being restrained by four angels,
hence the angels must be good. The horsemen, or winds, are being
restrained - which suggests they are demonic in nature. This ties in with 2
Thess 2 where the spirit of Antichrist is being restrained by a friendly
force. There is
an appointed time for the four winds to be released. It appears that the
full revelation of the Antichrist cannot be made until they are released so
in earth time this event of the sealing of the 144,000 would appear to be
before the events of ch 6:1,2.
The change in location is not important - the horsemen have had different
functions over time in history centralised on different places. John seems
to be quite fluid with minor details such as location. We are, after all,
looking at a reality in the spiritual realm. The physical place they are
located at has no real relevance.
(Beasley Murray) "The winds are restrained to produce a calm before the
storm." This could suggest that there is a period of world peace just prior
to the events brought about by the horsemen, i.e. the seals.
"earth...sea". The "wind" here is obviously not intended to be literal, so
it is doubtful that we should press a too literal meaning for earth and sea.
"sea" - is a symbol of the rebellious masses of the Gentile nations (Rev
"earth" - could refer to stable political countries.
"trees" - appears to be a symbol of political leaders and philosophies in
If we assume this symbolic interpretation is right then we come up with the
idea here that there will be, just prior to the revelation of Antichrist, a
period of peace on earth during which no disturbing "empire building" force
can operate. However, after that period will come the incredible violence of
It would appear that when these forces are released there is an amazing
corruption of the earth, but this is not allowed to happen until the 144,000
are sealed. Assuming the proof below, that the 144,000 are the Church, then
we possibly see here a suggestion that the Church is substantially completed
before the final manifestation of Antichrist, however this should not be
pushed too far as other scriptures seem to indicate a great harvest in the
earth during the reign of Antichrist.
by John Brough