Revealing Revelation – The Second Seal

25Feb11

With the breaking of the second seal we are introduced to the rider of a red horse who’s given the ability to take peace away from the earth.

Rev. 6:4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another, and he was given a great sword

Before dealing directly with the work of this horse and a discussion of the possible identity of the rider, we must first deal with the term “earth.” Again, as seen in chapter one, the word here is “ge” which is actually best translated land and not earth. This word is most often associated the land of Israel while the words cosmos and oikomene are best related to the whole earth and the known world respectively.

So, in this case, the rider is given the power to take away peace from the land of Israel. This is a mirror image of the Olivet Discourse in which the Disciples are told that one of the warning signs of the soon coming destruction of Jerusalem would be “wars and rumors of war.”

Matthew 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

As discussed during the writings on the Olivet Discourse there was a time when wars and even rumors of war could be seen as a sign. The only way these could be seen as a sign would be during a time of relative peace. Historically the time leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem was known as the Pax Romana, or Roman Peace.

This rider is given the power to remove the general peace and to bring war. This is best and most obviously understood to be the Roman Army, especially under the guidance of Vespasian and the direct command of Nero. Nero’s association with the color red has been noted previously as his full name actually means red beard.

The association of the color with the Roman army is also obvious as the Roman army was clothed in red and gold colored armaments. The color also most likely represent the bloodshed that would occur as the result of the removal peace.

It should be noted here that this is the only horse that goes “out.” to do something. The first horse and rider, most possibly representing Christ, stays seated at the right hand of the Father as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to lead in the conquering. The other two that follow are the results of the going out of this horse and rider as we shall see in upcoming posts.

One other note is worthy of consideration. Not only does this rider bring way, but also removes peace. This is interesting in light of Josephus’ description of the times leading up to the Jewish War.

“Every city was divided into two armies encamped one against another…so the daytime was spent in shedding of blood and the night in fear.” (Wars)

So not only did the Lord bring an army against apostate Israel He caused them to fight one against another. Later we will find that the camps split yet again and that three factions divided the city and warred against each other.

Consider the punishment in light of Jesus’ own words against Israel…

Luke 19:41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

By rejecting the Prince of Peace first century Israel brought upon itself it’s own destruction and rejected the peace that was offered by Christ. It was then hidden from them so that the purposes of Christ would be fulfilled.

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One Response to “Revealing Revelation – The Second Seal”

  1. 1 Tracey Bonsell

    I am thoroughly enjoying your posts! Thanks for helping to make things clear and understandable. I LOVE how you tie in OT passages to help explain ideas.


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