The  Black Horse (the third seal), Revelation Chapter 6 Verses 5 and 6 (NASB)


     And when He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come."
The third living creature has the face of the man if this is the third living creature in Revelation 4:7. Again the same command is "Come" This implies that the living creature leads these horses and their riders into doing their terrible deeds. And this terrible deed will affect all of humanity, as we shall see!
     And I looked, and BEHOLD, a BLACK HORSE;
     and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.
The color BLACK is associated with famine; Lamentations 4:1-12 indicates the skin becomes 'blacker than soot'. Christ indicated that famines were to be a part of the tribulation: Compared to the bow (first horse) and the great sword (second horse), the scales look tame; BUT rationing food can sometimes be the cruelest weapon. It was foretold by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 4:10,16-17, and has been used many times throughout history to defeat, or at least soften, an enemy.

Hunger also is a form of torture. Lamentations 5:1-18 shows that one could kill just to get someone else's bread. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 14:1-9) pleads for mercy from the drought, and as in his time, it will be now, God's judgment will carry on.

It is interesting that, apparently, the conflict brought about by the second horse, is brought to a quick end by the third horse and its rider. It is hard to kill and fight on when one is too weak from hunger.

     And I heard as it were a voice in the center of the four LIVING CREATURES saying,
The charge is given to the third horseman from the midst of the four living creatures. Since they surround the THRONE, it is the ONE who sits on the THRONE who gives this charge. God Himself is speaking.
     "A quart of wheat for a denarius,
      and three quarts of barley for a denarius;
A denarius was roughly equivalent to a day's wages. And the quart of wheat or three quarts of barley the equilavent of daily food consumption. This, then, says that during the "famine", all our wages would go to feed us. No more luxury living!
     and do not harm the oil and the wine."
This has been interpreted several different ways by Bible scholars. On a purely physical level, it would indicate that the rich will still have their luxuries; on a symbolic and spiritual level, this would indicate that the Holy Spirit should still be permitted to do His functions on the earth.

Oil was used extensively in the tabernacle. Olive oil was the oil in the temple lamps, Exodus 27:20-21. And the lamp was to burn continuously. Thus one could say that the churches will be thriving during this time.

In Jesus time, oil and wine was used as medical treatment when one was injured. This was the case in the "Good Samaritan" discussion, Luke 10:25-34-37. The suffering during the famine certainly could be eased by the oil and wine.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.