Meditation Mondays: Revelation 6:3-4: The Prophecy of Jesus and The Horseman of War
3 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 NKJV)
In today's passage we read of the opening of the second seal. Upon the opening of this seal there is another horse, the second horse of the 'four horsemen'. He is fiery red and its rider (who was given a sword) takes peace from the earth and the result is that folks begin killing one another. This horseman has been referred to as the horseman of war and his sword is given to him by God to execute God's plan for the nation of Israel. The first rider, on the first horse, which I believe to be Jesus comes in first announcing victory. Jesus conquered through His life, death, and resurrection. He is the promised Messiah.
Judaism is antiquated because Jesus fulfilled the law and abolished the civil and ceremonial laws. The temple of the curtain was torn from the top to the bottom at His death (Matt 27:51). Jesus really is God. And this second seal that was open demonstrates this reality even further.
Think about the uniqueness of the 1st century. You see God incarnate walk the earth, you see Him crucified, dead, buried, risen, and ascended. You see the coming of the Holy Spirit and tongues, and healings, and gospel expansion. And you also have a transition point. A doing away with the current age of that time (Judaism) and an ushering in of a new age (Christianity). The Old Testament prophets spoke of this day and the Jewish leaders of Jesus day rejected His coming.
Jesus told his own followers about this and they didn't understand. Jesus also told the Jewish leaders of the day about this and they didn't believe Him.
Look at Jesus' words in Matthew 24 as he speaks about how the temple; the temple where Jews pretended Jesus was not God, the temple where Jews continued to sacrifice animals as if the sacrifice of Jesus meant nothing- that temple was going to be torn down in a very cosmic and definitive way. Jesus in Matthew 24 prophesies about this and at the end of the passage says that the generation He is speaking to will not pass away until it happens. Look below:
24 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 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. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Matthew 24:1-35 NKJV bold added)
The even Jesus prophesied about in Matthew 24 is the event that the second horsemen ushered in. This even that happened between 66 and 70 AD was apocalyptic. Even the historian Flavius Josephus documents this war where people killed each other in very apocalyptic terms:
"The war which the Jews made with the Romans hath been the greatest of all those, not only that have been in our times, but, in a manner, of those that ever were heart of; both of those wherein cities have fought against cities, or nations against nations... I Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth an Hebrew, a priest also, and one who at first fought against the Romans myself, and was forced to be present at what was done afterwards, [am the author of this work]." (The War of the Jews of The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, Preface).
This rider brought a war Jesus spoke of and definitely ended Judaism and this happened within the generation in which Christ lived, just as Jesus said it would.
Jesus is prophet, priest, and king, and Revelation 6:3-4 demonstrates that Jesus's prophetic role is in tact. The destruction of the temple happened, just as He said it would and when He said it would. And this war was bloody and apocalyptic just like the language in Matthew 24 suggests.