"When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth."
(Revelation 6:7-8)The Pale ('Yarkon') Horse
In the Greek translations of Revelation, the word for ’pale’ is chloros
, which is defined as greenish
or yellowish, pale
. So it’s easy enough to see why English translations use the words greenish
in their description of this horse. Some also use ashen
, which we'll discuss in a moment. In the end, the whole idea is to describe the colors inherent in death, because Death
is the name of it’s rider.
This same basic reasoning is transmitted in the Hebrew New Testament, called the B’rit Chadashah, where the word for pale is yarkon
. This is derived from the word Yarak
, which means vegetable, from which the greenish color is implied. And as usual in Hebrew, an entire family of words is built around this root, such as the Yarkan
, which is the greengrocer. But another member of this
word family means putrid, mottled, sickly, rotting, or decaying
Given all this, it’s interesting that there is a river in central Israel that bears the name of this horse, the Yarkon.
And just as the yarkon
horse in Revelation is synonymous with death, so the Yarkon river is synonymous with death.