The second seal (Rev. 6:3-4)

Previously: A bow and a crown (Rev. 6:1-2)

The scripture

Rev. 6:3 – When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4Then another horse went out, a fiery red one, and its horseman was empowered to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And a large sword was given to him (HCSB).

The opening of the second seal, like the first, is accompanied by one of the living creatures saying, “Come!” and a horse and rider bursting onto the scene. This is a horse of a different color, however – fiery red – and the horseman has been given the authority to plunge the world into warfare. While the first rider, on a white horse, is given a bow, the second rider is presented with a large sword. Let’s look more closely at these verses and see, first of all, if we may determine what this means to a first-century audience. Then we will explore the possibilities for today’s audience.

Jesus now breaks the second seal on the scroll. Remember that these seals likely are pieces of wax or clay that have been stamped with a ring or other metal object bearing the insignia of the owner. They identify the one who has authorized what’s been written, and the seal may be broken only by the designated authority, in this case the Lamb. Likely, as each seal is broken, it allows another portion of the scroll to be unraveled, until all seven seals are removed and the full message is revealed.

As the seal is opened, John hears the second living creature say, “Come!” As we learned in the last lesson, this call probably is not to John but to the horse and rider, who appear obediently.

Next: A fiery red horse (Rev. 6:3-4)

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