Second Seal

Red Horse Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash
 - The second rider was sent to “remove peace from the earth” and caused men to “slay one another” – Revelation 6:3-4. - [
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash]. 

When the first seal was opened, the first of the four “living creatures” commanded the first “rider” to “go forth.” So, likewise, when the second seal was opened. The reader should bear in mind that each of the “seven seals” was opened by Jesus, the slain “Lamb.” Among other things, the involvement of the “four living creatures” emphasizes that heaven remained in firm control over the historical processes put into motion by each “rider.”
  • (Revelation 6:3-4) – “And when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature, saying, Go! And there went forth another, a red horse, and to him that was sitting thereon, it was given to take away peace from the earth, and that one another they should slay; and there was given to him a great sword.
The ordering of the “four living creatures” corresponds to the order of the four “riders.” Thus, the “second living creature” commanded the second “rider.” There were four “living creatures” and “four riders.” The point is not their “literal” number, but their connection. The “Lamb” opened all seven “seals.” Elsewhere, angels sounded the “seven trumpets” and emptied the “seven bowls of wrath.” The four “living creatures” were only involved directly with the first four “seals” - (Revelation 4:6-7).

The second “rider” was on a “fiery-red” horse (purrhos).  The term occurs twice in Revelation; here and when John saw the “great fiery-red dragon.” On some level, this color links the second “rider” to the “Dragon,” the latter a symbol of Satan in his attempt to destroy the “son” born of the “woman arrayed with the sun,” as well as “her seed” - (Revelation 12:1-4).

The “fiery-red” color suggests bloodshed - It “took peace from the earth so that men should slay one another.” The description may point to civil strife and, warfare between nations. However, the use of the verb sphazō for “slay” rather than the more generic term “kill” (apokteinō) points to a third possibility ([sphazō] - Strong’s - #G4969).

Sphazō denotes the “slaying” of a sacrificial victim and is so used in Revelation for the “slain Lamb,” and for the saints that were “slain” by the “beast” and “Babylon.” Further, it is used for the “slaying” of one of the seven heads of the “beast” in its attempt to counterfeit the death and resurrection of the “Lamb” - (Revelation 13:1-6).

The same Greek verb was used in the “fifth seal” - John saw the souls of martyrs underneath the altar who had been “slain for the word of God.” Note the following passages, especially the last one where “Babylon” is held accountable for “all who had been slain upon the earth.” So, also, the second seal opening “removed peace from the earth” by causing men to “slay one another” – (Revelation 5:6-12, 6:9-11, 13:3, 18:24).

Thus, in Revelationsphazō or “slay” is only applied to the slaying of the “Lamb,” his “saints,” and to the “slain” head of the “Beast” in imitation of Jesus. Elsewhere, men hostile to the Lamb are “killed,” using the more common Greek verb apokteinō - (Revelation 9:5, 9:15-20).

Sword Photo by Ricardo Cruz on Unsplash
Photo by Ricardo Cruz on Unsplash

The Greek noun rendered “
sword” is machaira (Strong’s - #G3162), a term for the short sword carried by Roman legions. It symbolized Roman authority to impose law and justice, including the authority to execute offenders - (Romans 1:16, 2:12, 13:1-10, 19:15-21).

In Revelationmachaira or “sword” occurs two additional times - for the sword-wound received by the “beast,” and for the death of the “saints” by the “sword” at the hands of the “beast” - (Revelation 13:7-10, 13:14).

Thus, the second “rider” removed “peace from the earth”; however, he did so in an ironic fashion - By causing the “inhabitants of the earth” to slay the followers of the “Lamb” - (Revelation 6:9-11, 13:7).

The “removal of peace” indicated war. In Revelation, “war” is waged by the “Dragon” and its earthly agents against the “saints,” those who “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” - (Revelation 11:7, 12:7-17, 13:7-10, 16:12-16, 20:7-10).

God responded to the attacks on His “saints” with two series of judgments, the “seven trumpets” and the “seven bowls of wrath.” The sevenfold series culminated in the overthrow of the “beast” and “Babylon,” the final destruction of Satan, and the “second death,” the expulsion to the “Lake of Fire” for all those whose names were not “written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Thus, by “slaying” the followers of the “Lamb,” the “Dragon” and his vassals succeed only in removing “peace” from the earth and sealing their own horrific fate.

Similarly, the “inhabitants of the earth” thought that by killing the “two witnesses” they would end the “torment” they had endured from their prophetic testimony. However, the celebration by the nations over their deaths was short-lived. The murders of the “witnesses” were followed by the sounding of the “seventh trumpet,” which ushered in the final judgment and the destruction of “those who destroyed the earth” - (Revelation 11:3-19).


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