Christianity 201

June 9, 2018

Biblical Horses

We’re on a tighter than usual deadline today, and as I write this, the world is watching to see if a particular horse will win the American “Triple Crown” of racing; with the result coming about 80 minutes after we will have published.

Horses figure into the Biblical story arc many times in many ways. I’ve divided a few of these into four categories.


Zechariah 6:1-7 NLT Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. “And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.

The angel replied, “These are the four spirits[a] of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west,[b] and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.”

and again in Revelation:

Revelation 6:2 I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory.

Revelation 19:11 NLT Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. 12 His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. 13 He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. 15 From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. 16 On his robe at his thigh[a] was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

As a symbol of strength, security

Many of these examples show the horse’s strength being used comparatively in order to make some greater point.

Jeremiah 12:5 The Voice  If you are worn out after only running with a few men, how will you one day compete against horses? If you stumble on the easy terrain, how will you manage in the thick brush near the Jordan?

Psalm 20:7 CEB  Some people trust in chariots, others in horses;
    but we praise the Lord’s name.

Proverbs 21:31 EXB You can get the horses ready for the day of battle, but it is the Lord who gives the victory
Habakkuk 1:8 CSB Their horses are swifter than leopards and more fierce than wolves of the night. Their horsemen charge ahead; their horsemen come from distant lands. They fly like eagles, swooping to devour.
The passage below shows that these beasts represent an object of fear for the people of Israel. The strength of the opposing army is often measured by the number of its horses (and horsemen.)
Deuteronomy 20:1 “When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you!
The extended passage below is also using the horse as a measure of comparison. In this chapter, God’s response to Job is bringing the story toward its climax and this section is typical of how God answers Job.

Job 39:19 NLT “Have you given the horse its strength
    or clothed its neck with a flowing mane?
20 Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust?
    Its majestic snorting is terrifying!
21 It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength
    when it charges out to battle.
22 It laughs at fear and is unafraid.
    It does not run from the sword.
23 The arrows rattle against it,
    and the spear and javelin flash.
24 It paws the ground fiercely
    and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows.

Submissive to our dominion

James 3:3 ESV If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.

Psalm 32:9 NIV Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.

Not invincible

Exodus 15:1,4 NLT Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD: “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; he has hurled both horse and rider into the sea… Pharaoh’s chariots and army he has hurled into the sea. The finest of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.

We find the horse often is one of nature’s many parables in scripture. Their might and dignity captivate us.

All of God’s creation is declaring God’s glory.