The Great Throne Visions ~ The Second Horseman ~ The Purpose of His Mission
The Second Horseman
The Purpose of His Mission
“…And another horse came forth, fiery red in color. Its rider was empowered to remove peace from the earth so that men might slaughter one another…”
The Final Conclave
Many of the expositors have tried to tie the symbol to the events of John’s own era. That it was a time of war and bloodshed cannot, of course, be denied. From -400 until the day Rome was finally over ran by the barbarians, Europe and nearer Asia were plagued with war, terror, violence and death. The Punic Wars were followed by the wars with Carthage (-264 to -202) and Greece (-200 to -146). At this time (-146) the civil war that eventually led to Caesars ascension (-49) broke out. The Judean war (70 AD) would have been fresh in Johns mind, and he would certainly have been aware of any threat of war that existed at the time he received his visions.
Other commentators have tried to identify the symbol with the political upheaval and strife that characterized the tumultuous centuries that followed. In a sense, I feel that both viewpoints have a certain merit, for the Archetype would certainly apply, at least to some extent, to all such conflagrations. But the imagery invoked by John goes far beyond such local and limited occurrences. I know that it is hard to imagine a world of no peace whatsoever, at any location. But this is exactly what John envisions. The second rider is empowered to take peace from the earth! Since there has never been a time when this condition truly prevailed, it must necessarily be in the future. This means that the symbolic Second Horseman is primarily an eschatological symbol.
It is of interest to note, in this regard, that the color red is often associated with the end of the world. In Siberian mythology we find the following interesting account of the Advent of Maidere, a kind of Buddhist Messiah, at the end of the present Age.
“[At that time] the devil will attack Maidere and fulfill his threat. The blood of Maidere, said to turn the whole world red, will take fire, the flames surrounding the earth and rising to the heavens.”
This means that in the prophetic, typological, and Archetypal sense, the Rider of the Red Horse has yet to depart. He still awaits the thunderous call of the Zoa. Once the Second Seal is broken however, the nations of the world will undergo a rampage of uncontrollable passion that will result in every conceivable form of human carnage.
“And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled; for such things must needs be, but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” [Mark 13:7f.]