The Second Seal

“When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere.”
Revelation 6:3-4 NLT

We don’t know the time difference between opening the first and second seals. But whenever it took place, there is another thunderous “Come!”, this time from the second of the living beings. A red horse appeared, and its rider gallops off into the sunset, waving a mighty sword. And in his vision, John was told that the rider on the red horse was able to take away world peace, unleashing wars and loss of life everywhere. 

With the opening of the second seal, introducing the next step in this time of tribulation, things are looking grim. Those of us fortunate enough to be living in a peaceful place will have no idea what such mayhem looks and feels like, apart from the news reports. Here in the UK it has been many years since we experienced a war on our soil. But in other parts of the world, conflict is constant and never very far away. As I write, the war in Ukraine continues, with tragic stories emerging from the ruins, of “slaughter everywhere”

Again we wonder if we are in the period of time called the Tribulation. Jesus foretold what would happen, and His words are recorded in Matthew 24. Verses 5-8 read, “for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.” Personally, I believe we are in the period referred to by Jesus as “birth pains”, but we’ve been in this period for hundreds of years. Wars, famines and earthquakes have been with us since time as we know it began. However, we don’t know whether this coincides with the breaking of the first seals in John’s vision. We also don’t know the time period over which these early times of tribulation took place. The horses and riders released following the breaking of the first four seals have been referred to as “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. Are we in Apocalyptic times? Hmmm…

As pilgrims, we must not be distracted in our mission in life. Jesus gave us a job to do, and we must faithfully carry it out. We mustn’t adopt a fatalistic attitude, fearing what is coming and sitting in our pews in the meantime, waiting for the end of our lives and hoping we don’t get too much hassle in the process. So we continue to read the Word, we pray, we worship and praise our wonderful Heavenly Father, and we share our messages of hope with those around us. We must not use the account of John’s vision to alarm us. Instead we must allow it to energise us, acting as a springboard projecting us into the sad and lost world around us.

Dear Father God. You know when all these things we read about in Revelation will take place. And we rest in You, secure in the knowledge that You are our loving Heavenly Father, who cares for us. We worship You today. Amen.

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