12. In Revelation, chapter 6, it is said:
That when the Lamb opened the first seal of the book, there went forth a white horse, and that he who sat thereon had a bow, and to him was given a crown; that when He opened the second seal there went forth a red horse, and that to him who sat thereon was given a great sword; that when He opened the third seal there went forth a black horse, and that he who sat thereon had a pair of balances in his hand; and that when He opened the fourth seal there went forth a pale horse, and that the name of him who sat thereon was death (Rev. 6:1-8).
What these things signify can be unfolded solely by means of the spiritual sense; and it is completely unfolded when it is known what is signified by the opening of the seals, by a horse, and by the other things mentioned. By them are described the successive states of the church, from its beginning to its end, in respect to its understanding of the Word. The "opening of the seals of the book by the Lamb" signifies the manifestation by the Lord of those states of the church. A "horse" signifies the understanding of the Word; the "white horse," the understanding of truth from the Word in the first state of the church; the "bow" of him who sat upon that horse, the doctrine of charity and faith fighting against falsities; the "crown," eternal life, the prize of victory. The "red horse" signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to good, in the second state of the church; the "great sword," falsity fighting against truth. The "black horse" signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to truth, in the third state of the church; the "pair of balances," the estimation of truth so small that there was scarcely any. The "pale horse" signifies the understanding of the Word annihilated by evils of life and the derivative falsities, in the fourth or last state of the church; and "death" signifies eternal condemnation. It is not apparent in the sense of the letter or natural sense that such is the signification of these things in the spiritual sense, so that unless the spiritual sense were at some time opened, the Word as to this and all other things in Revelation would be so completely closed that at last no one would know wherein its Divine holiness lies. It is equally so in respect to what is signified by the "four horses" and the "four chariots" that came forth from between two mountains of brass (Zech. 6:1-8).