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HORSE No. 2

The Second Rider and the Red Horse.

The red horse and it’s rider, represents war and bloodshed. Nation will rise against nation during the Tribulation and individuals against each other.

It is a time of murder, assassination, bloodshed, revolution, and war.

"When He opened the second seal

I heard the second living creature saying,

'Come and see.'

And another horse, fiery red, went out.

And it was granted to the one who sat on it

to take peace from the earth,

and that people should kill one another;

and there was given to him a great sword."

—Revelation 6:3-4 { The KJV renders the word here as ‘’beast’’ which is unfortunate...} { The word (used ) was/is “Zoon” in the Greek, and not: “therion”} {Zoon = a living creature, a live thing or an animal } { Therion = a brute beast. Wild, wild like. dangerous -- (venomous, wild) } “Thera”- therion/a transliteration of the word used to describe: “ the beast”} (As in: the “[beast]” and the false prophet…)

I only point this out as to alleviate some confusion. The Bible predicts that the time of the end will be the bloodiest period that mankind will ever experience (Matthew 24:21-22). Countless numbers of people will die in calamity after calamity—some "acts of God," some "natural," some man-made.

The red horse and its rider represent one part of the manmade variety, the scourge of bloody conflict.

Symbols of War

The second horseman is perhaps the most easily identifiable of the famed Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, since both of its symbols, the fiery red color and the great sword, are well known to represent war. However, underlying this facile identification of the symbols are a few interesting details that add depth to them.

The Greek word John uses for "red" is purros or pyrros, meaning "the color of fire" (compare our words "pyre," "pyromania," "pyrosis"). This is not the normal Greek word for red (eruthros), but a more specialized term that suggests firey or flickering reds, oranges, and yellows like a flame. It is the same word that John uses to describe the redness of the Dragon (Satan) in Revelation 12:3

The horseman's "great sword" is a translation of máchaira megálee. Again, this is not the ordinary sword of war (romfaia) but a short sword or long knife like a dagger. Frequently, máchaira is the knife used to prepare a sacrifice or to slaughter an animal for food. It is also the sword worn by magistrates and executioners. That the red horseman's sword is "great" (megálee) means either that it is larger or longer than usual or that it is highly effective in doing its job. Surprisingly, romfaia appears in Revelation 6:8: * Romfaia, is a short, close combat, single bladed weapon Used almost exclusively by the Thracians, examples have been found dating from 300-400 BC. As a weapon, the romfaia was feared because of the cutting power afforded to it by the polearm-like design. Roman armies encountering it in battle, caused them to make alterations, adding reinforcement

to their helmets. "And power was given to [the four horsemen] to kill with sword, with hunger, with death. . . ." A "great sword," then, is the equivalent of a thoroughly effective instrument of death.

The sword is often a symbol of God's judgment. David writes in Psalm 7:12, "If [the wicked] does not turn back, He [God] will sharpen His sword." In Isaiah 34:6, 8, in the context of the Day of the Lord, God combines the sword of judgment with the idea of sacrifice and slaughter.

Clearly, the purpose of the great sword given to the rider of the red horse is to inflict violent death on masses of people living in a wicked world system in divine judgment.

Of course, this parallels the second point in Jesus' Olivet Prophecy in Matthew 24:6-7: "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." The wording implies an expected increase in conflicts due to the stresses of the time leading up to the end. In other words, amplified contention is a precursor of the end time.

His comments specify wars between nations and kingdoms, but John's description in Revelation 6 expands this out to: "people . . . killing one another."

This suggests that this horseman not only deals in mass destruction in civil, border, and world wars, but also in smaller conflicts down to individual murders.

Thus, the second seal also covers rising violent crime, gang activity, mob hits, assassinations, family feuds and personal disputes that turn violent.

In saying "wars and rumors of wars," Jesus seems to be saying that some wars will be threatened yet not fought. This is not the sense of the Greek, however.

The word translated "rumors" (akoé) is the common Greek word for "sense of hearing" (in the active sense) or "report" (in the passive sense). Jesus really means that we will hear the [noise of war] with our own ears and we will also [hear reports] of wars occurring elsewhere. In other words, wars will be taking place all over the world.

Immediately, He cautions us not to let such reports trouble us; that is, He tells us not to let the constant wars cause us to panic.

Certainly, the end time will be one of terrible warfare, but many other factors must fall into place before we conclude that we are living at the close of the age.

Jesus then specifies that "nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." Looking at this from today's perspective, we might think He is repeating Himself, but He actually makes a distinction between ethnic warfare

("nation" = éthnos)—wars between different peoples —and political warfare ("kingdom" = basileia)—wars between realms or nation-states.

Oftentimes, the former are civil wars within a nation comprised of various ethnic groups, such as the former Yugoslavia. The latter, then, are what we call international conflicts like the recent Gulf Wars. Jesus' distinction tells us that war is the norm both within nations and between them.

Relentless Aggression

It is interesting to note that the second seal is introduced by "the second living creature saying, 'Come and see'" (Revelation 6:3). Revelation 4:7 gives us the order of the living creatures as lion, calf, man, and eagle, so the living creature that introduces the seal of war is probably the calf. Just as the first seal's introduction by the lion presages the white horseman's prime characteristic of ferocious pursuit of prey, so does the calf foretell the red horseman's main trait.

The red horseman, with its fiery red horse, great sword, and relentless aggression, is a fearsome symbol of unremitting, intensifying, uncontrolled, horrific conflict. God intends this figure to instill terror in mankind in the hope that he will repent of his enmity and be saved from its destruction and death (II Peter 3:9-13).

The world is not a safe place. Conflict in hot wars, violent crimes, or personal disputes can break out in an instant. In the context of the end time, Paul cautions:

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.

(I Thessalonians 5:2-3)

Peace and safety can be shattered in a mere moment if one is caught off guard. Paul says, however, that God has not called us to the kind of judgment brought at the edge of the red horseman's great sword but to salvation through Jesus Christ (verse 9).

We can escape it if we "watch and be sober" (verse 6), in otherwords, if we are

[spiritually alert] and [serious] during these unsettling times leading to Christ's return.

The Black horse and rider, ( number 3 ) come next...


 

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