And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.Revelation 6:4(NASB)
Because of unbelief, Israel failed to enter their promised rest and receive their inheritance, when they first crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land. They failed, once again, when they did not recognise the 'Day of their Visitation', and crucified the Lord of glory. And for 2000 years - during the dispensation of grace - Israel has been set aside as God's witness on earth. However, the main purpose of the Tribulation period is to bring Israel back to God and for them to finish the work He prepared for them to do - and that time is fast approaching.
It is during the 70th week of Daniel - often called the Great Tribulation or the Time of Jacob's Trouble, that Israel turns back to God from their sin, and fulfils the purpose for which they were called. Three sets of judgments, (7-seals, 7-trumpets, and 7-bowls) are poured out onto the earth in quick succession, to bring God's people back to Himself, while punishing an unbelieving, ungodly world with unimaginable judgements.
Chapter 6 begins a chronological process to achieve His purposes, as the seal judgements begin to be unleashed. The progressive breaking of the seals, on the seven-sealed scroll, cause the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to ride into view. Each horse is a distinct colour. Each carries a formidable rider. Each appears in response to the command "COME", or "Come and See." The command to "COME" is given by a living creature, the moment a seal is broken. And each satanically inspired, ungodly rider, fulfils a specific role in God's plan of redemption.
Following behind the first horseman who rides a white horse, and deceives the world by bringing in a false peace, is a rider on a fiery red horse. He appears the moment the second seal is broken and the loud command to "COME" is given by another living creature. We read that John saw, "another horse." He witnessed a red horse galloping onto the world scene, "and to the one who sat on it, was granted permission to take peace from the earth, so that men would slay one another... and a great sword was given to him."
The rider on the second horse is a powerful warrior. He is an influential, political leader and military man who commands a mighty 'war-machine', and excites global unrest and civil rebellion. He bursts into the pseudo-peaceful world-scene, carrying a great sword in his hand, with power to engulf the nations of the world, in a terrible and bloody war.
The restraining prayers of the Church are removed before any seal is broken, and the One Who created all things and holds all things together by His almighty power, lifts His hand of protection from the world, allowing global conflict to engulf the nations. The worldwide influence of this rider is too great to be halted by any national army, and peace is quickly taken from the world, causing men to indiscriminately kill one another, and inflict on the earth the most devastating slaughter in the history of mankind.
The progression from the fabricated global peace, brought in by the first rider, to worldwide war and the unprecedented slaughter and destruction of vast numbers of humanity, by the second horseman, follows closely the progression of events in Christ's Olivet discourse, only hours before His crucifixion.. for following on the heels of the red horse and its fearsome rider, comes famine, death, martyrdom, and deception... accompanied by lying signs and satanic wonders.
The book of Revelation is not designed to engender fear in our hearts, but HOPE. It is the event that will bring Israel to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a time when a multitude, without number, will come to faith in Christ. It is the forerunner to Christ's Millennial rule of peace and prosperity for all. It is a constant reminder that Christ is in control and that He defeated every foe that we face today... and each fearsome rider that will darken the world stage in the future. It is a reminder that Christ conquered Satan, sin, death, and hell at the Cross - and He defeated them once and forever.
Jesus defeated the deceptive rider on the white horse and the bloody rider on the red horse, at the Cross. He has overcome all the evil that Satan has purposed to pour out on the earth, by the shedding of His precious blood at Calvary. And no matter what evil force is inflicted, during this terrible time, the Lamb that opens the seals is still on the throne, and His shed blood was sufficient to render each one powerless in the lives of those who believe.
The Church will not have to face the wrath that comes when the seven seals start to be broken, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride onto the world stage. But while it is still today, there are souls in need of salvation... family members who are not yet saved, neighbours who are not redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, colleagues who have yet to believe on Christ, and fallen men who have not yet seen the truth. There are untold millions following false christs, doctrines of demons, apostate teachers, and foolish atheists in need of a Saviour - and it is not God's will that any should perish but that all come to repentance.
May we do what we can to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to a multitude of men and women, who will have to face the shocking consequences of their sin, in the coming Tribulation period, if they do not hear and believe the gospel of grace. May we be ready and willing to be used by God to tell out the glories of the gospel and the privileges that are open to ALL who believe that Christ died to pay the price for their sin, that He rose again according to the Scriptures, and gives life eternal to ALL who believe.
Heavenly Father, as I consider the shocking consequences of the unsaved who will have to face the deception of the first horseman, the destruction of the rider on the red horse, and the many terrible events that will take place in this coming day of judgement, I pray that many would be brought to faith in Christ, before it is too late. Use me I pray, to spread the truth of the glorious Gospel of Christ with those with whom I come in contact, and unleash in the hearts of all Your children, an urgency to spread the good news to lost souls, and tell the truth to unsaved men and women. This I ask in Jesus' name and for His greater glory, AMEN.