The famous horsemen of the last book of the Bible – who have been depicted by many artists – symbolically represent various calamities that characterize history: the triumph of the powerful, deadly conflicts, economic crises and mortality by various means. At the time, horses were mainly used to carry urgent messages and to wage war. They thus symbolize speed and conquest. The world was quickly conquered by these various scourges.
These different disasters have taken many different forms throughout history. Today, the new coronavirus could be seen as one of these manifestations: it "gallops" rapidly around the world and conquers one country after another.
You don't have to be a prophet to see that all these things characterize history. The peculiarity of John's vision is that he places these things in a perspective of hope:
These things are not symptoms of a collapsing world, as one might think when they are in the midst of these dynamics. These plagues are symptoms of a new world that is coming! They occur when the seals are opened, those seals that are part of the document that establishes Jesus as King of this earth, to inaugurate His Kingdom of peace, where calamities will have no more room. We could say that these calamities are like the side effects of a medicine. Medicine is a healing agent, but for a time it also triggers side effects that make us suffer. The medicine that God has prescribed for all the suffering of His creation is that Jesus be installed as King on this earth and that His Kingdom of peace replace our present forms of living society. The side effect of this medicine is that for us to be ready to receive this new society, the dysfunctions of our present society need first to be exposed. In crises such as the covid-19 crisis, we see our powerlessness. We see that without God, we cannot manage this world entrusted to us in a good way. If this crisis brings us to such an awareness, then it will have been beneficial for us in the end, and not all the suffering will have been in vain!
Lord Jesus, I receive you as the King of the whole earth! I acknowledge that despite all our efforts, we cannot manage this world well without You! We need you! Come Lord Jesus! Come and establish your Kingdom of peace, where there will be no more suffering!