Second Seal

The second rider was sent to “remove peace from the earth” and cause men to “slay one another” – Revelation 6:3-4

As with the first rider, the second horseman is commanded by one of the four “living creatures” to “go forth.” Although each seal is opened by the “Lamb,” the involvement of the “four living creatures” emphasizes that heaven remains in firm control over the earthly events represented by each “rider.

The ordering of the “four living creatures” corresponds to that of the four “riders.” Thus, the “second living creature” commands the second “rider.” There are four “living creatures” and “four riders.” For that matter, the four “living creatures” are only involved directly with the first four “seals.” Thus, on some level, the two groups are connected.
  • (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.


This “rider” is on a “fiery-red” horse (purrhos).  The term occurs twice in Revelation; here, and when John sees the “great fiery-red dragon.” The color links the second “rider” to the “Dragon,” and the latter symbolizes Satan in his attempt to destroy the messianic “son” and the “seed of the woman” - (Revelation 12:1-17).

And the color suggests bloodshed, for it “took peace from the earth so that men should slay one another.” The description may point to civil strife and warfare.

But the use of the verb sphazō for “slay” rather than the more generic term for “kill” (apokteinō), suggests the “slaying” of saints by malevolent forces is intended - (Revelation 5:6-12, 6:9-11, 18:24).

The Greek noun rendered “sword” is a term used to describe the short sword carried by Roman legions. It symbolizes Roman authority to impose law and justice, including the authority to execute offenders.

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” removes “peace from the earth”; however, he does 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” indicates war; however, 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 responds to the attacks on His “saints” with two series of judgments, the “seven trumpets” and the “seven bowls of wrath,” both of which culminate in the overthrow of the “beast” and “Babylon,” the final destruction of Satan, and the condemnation of the “inhabitants of the earth.”

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

Likewise, 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 is short-lived.

The murder of the “witnesses” will be followed by the sounding of the “seventh trumpet,” which will usher in the final judgment and the destruction of “those who destroyed the earth” - (Revelation 11:3-19).



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