THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
The Second Seal-Arms / World War 6:3-4
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come and see." 4 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
When He opened the second seal, Jesus, the Lamb who is worthy to read the message, opened the scroll
further so that the next prophecy could be revealed.
Similar to the opening of the first seal, which had been heralded by one of the living creatures, John wrote that he
heard the second living creature announcing the event, saying, "Come and see." As noted above,
in verse 1, this is an acceptable translation of the normal Greek word for "come." It is an invitation to hear the words and imagine the unveiling of
this next prophetic milestone.
This second symbolic view of the future was this: another horse, fiery red, went out. In this vision
red could be a picture of fire or blood, or both. It describes a major war.
Lest the readers (and listeners) of Revelation should forget, this dreadful event will not take God by surprise, nor threaten His sovereignty.
As mentioned in the previous verse, the rise and fall of kingdoms and the outcome of their wars are allowed by God to serve His righteous purposes: usually of
punishing evildoers (Psalm 75:6-8). And it was granted to the one who sat on it-not likely the Beast (Antichrist) since,
as the previous verses indicate, he is seen as a messianic hero at this early stage. Whoever this future warrior, or military alliance, will be,
he (or it) will be allowed to take peace from the earth. In other words, it will be a great world war.
At this point it should be said that teaching about future events is quite different from explaining historical matters. The
honest method of linking Bible prophecy with current events is not to say that certain trends will definitely lead to a fulfillment of any
given passage of Scripture, but to suggest that, among the various possibilities that we see right now, certain ones are the most likely to
occur, if, in fact, the prophecy is fulfilled in the very near future. See the note about not always being dogmatic in Chapter 4, verse 6.
The extent of this war is described: that people should kill one another. Will the death toll equal
or exceed World War II's carnage of 100 million lives? No one knows, but the potential carnage is great in our age of advanced weaponry. The details are not
revealed, but the prophecy adds, and there was given to him a great sword. In the context of our dangerous world, that
could certainly mean the deployment of nuclear weapons.
There are at least five great wars mentioned in Old and New Testament prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled.
1- The Regional War of Psalm 83 - a coalition of most of modern Israel's Arab neighbors.
They have said, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more."
5 For they have consulted together with one consent;
They form a confederacy against You:
6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;
Moab and the Hagrites;
7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek;
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assyria also has joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot. - Psalm 83:4-8
This coalition of Israel's ancient enemies and estranged relatives includes most of the Sunni Muslim people who surround Israel
in the Middle East today. It will be a major war, threatening the continued existence of Israel.
In our book Red Skies: Bible Prophecy and World Events, under the topic of persecution (p. 66), we mention the current attempt
to build an Islamic State (Caliphate) by ISIS in all the lands once held by their forefathers. It is possible that this current bloodthirsty
uprising could turn out to be the fulfillment of the Psalm 83 war. It could also explain the prediction of the utter destruction of Damascus
in Isaiah 17:1-3. The resolution of this regional war could then be the occasion of a peace agreement: the false peace mentioned in 1 Thessalonians.
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day
of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 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. - 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
In this case, the "sudden destruction" could be the deteriorating world conditions we are experiencing right now, leading to the
Rapture of the Church, (see the notes on Revelation 4:1), followed by the opening of these seals early in the Tribulation Period.
Come back soon for the next installment of our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Revelation.
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