The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are among the most important of the great Bible symbols because they give the key to the nature of man as we know him. When you understand these symbols thoroughly you will understand your own makeup, and you will be able to begin the work of getting dominion over yourself and over your surroundings.
There is another reason why it is important to understand the Four Horsemen. They form a typical example of the way in which the Bible makes use of the general principle of symbolism. When you have grasped their full significance, by realizing how the Bible talks about horses, for instance, in order to teach psychological and spiritual truth, you will have mastered the general scheme of Bible allegory. The Bible is not written in the style of a modern book. It has a method all its own of conveying knowledge through picturesque symbols, the reason being that this is the only possible way in which knowledge could be given to people in all ages in different parts of the world and of different degrees of spiritual development. A direct statement in the modern manner would appeal to a particular kind of audience, but a symbol appeals to any audience, each individual getting just what he is ready for.
The Bible is not full of predictions. The Bibles does not undertake to say just what is going to happen in the future, because if this could be done it could only mean that we have no free will. If the future is all arranged now—like a movie film packed in its box—what would be the use of praying or studying metaphysics? Why did Jesus pray for so many hours, even all night long, if he could not change anything? You can change the future and the present by prayer, and it is your attitude toward prayer that makes or mars you—makes you sick or well, happy or sad, stupid or wise.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse stand for the four parts or elements of our human nature as we find it today. As we know ourselves in our present embodiment we seem to be made up of four parts. There is, first of all, the physical body—the thing that you see when you look into the glass. Then there is your feeling nature or emotions. This is an extremely important part of you, and although you cannot “see” your feelings, you are tremendously conscious of them. Third, there is your intellect. You cannot see this either, but you are quite aware of its existence, because it contains every bit of knowledge, important or unimportant, that you possess.
Finally, there is your spiritual nature, or your real eternal self; the true you, the I AM, the Indwelling Christ, the Divine Spark, or what you please to call it. This is your real identity, which is eternal. Almost everyone believes in its existence, but for the most part people are very little conscious of it as an actuality. Students of metaphysics are aware that ultimately the time will come when the first three will be merged in the fourth, and then we shall all know instead of only believing that the spiritual nature is all. Meanwhile, however, this is not the case, so we find ourselves living with these four elements of our nature—and the Bible calls them the Four Horses.
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