The four horsemen are a commonly known symbol of the apocalypse. They take root in the Bible, in Revelations Chapter Six. These horsemen are to be released when the Lamb, who is usually interpreted as Jesus Christ, opens the first four seals. The horsemen are typically named Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence, although, only Death is named in Revelations, there is reference to the others. With the opening of the first seal, Conquest or also interpreted as Pestilence, or the anti-Christ is released on a white horse, the second seal on a red horse comes War, on the black horse comes famine with the opening of the third seal, followed by Death on the pale horse with the opening of the fourth seal. (King James Version, Rev. 6.1-8) With the unleashing of the four horsemen, the Bible states that: “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.”(King James Version, Rev. 6.8) Allowing them to wreak havoc on the Earth in turn of the impending apocalypse.
The horsemen are often ignored in many modern movies about the apocalypse. There can be an apocalypse without them being physically there. However the elements of death, war, famine, and pestilence are usually prevalent in most films and literature. Currently if you type in “Apocalypse” in Google on of the first things that comes up is the trailer for the upcoming XMen movie being released this summer. This movie takes the idea of the horsemen and puts a twist upon it. The movie also will take the concept of the apocalypse and make it one being set out to destroy the world and then recreate it to his liking.
In this movie, the villain always has four followers in which he gives power who are essentially the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is taking the traditional idea of the four horsemen and translating it into the Marvel comics. It appears more of a superhero movie than an apocalyptic movie, however, if you really think about it most superhero movies do have an apocalyptic element to them as they are always trying to save the world from some kind of threat to end the world. I thought that this was an interesting portrayal of the apocalypse. To manifest the entirety of an apocalypse in one single being, rather than to make it a world wide disaster or problem. The four horsemen are also embodied as followers of the villain Apocalypse, given immense power to help him destroy Earth and anyone or thing that gets in the way. I found this clip interesting, as it seems that they have linked all apocalyptic ideas from Ancient Egypt to the Bible with this one character.
To think about the four horsemen in modern society, we are surrounded by war, death, sickness, and hunger. If you take a look at the word right now is famine in places such as Africa, were people die daily due to malnutrition and lack of food. United Nations has cited that 21,000 people die daily of hunger or hunger related causes in the world. War is a constant thing that is happening with the current concerns of terrorism; it is a global issue. The attacks in Syria for example can be considered a war that is involving the world. Not everywhere is necessarily directly involved in the fighting, however many places are accepting refugees and assisting the fight in other ways. For Pestilence, there is the current threat of Ebola or the AIDS epidemic, and many other currently happening in the world right now. Finally, death follows all of these events. This problem is also close to home; many people in town alone are starving, sick, and at war. Does this mean that there is an impending apocalypse or will this situation on Earth get worse when the supposed horsemen arrive? Or must the situation worsen in order for it to be considered close to an apocalypse? Are we currently living in Revelations, just waiting for the apocalypse to arrive?