This Revelation Timeline Decoded Bible study focuses on the first seal of Revelation 6.
Revelation 6:3-4 reads, “When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 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.”
In the previous study, you learned that the white horse of the 1st Seal Of Revelation 6 represented the time of the greatest expansion of the Roman Empire as they made many conquests from 96-180 A.D.
During the same time, Christ was going forth on His victorious mission of taking control of countries with His Gospel, and of avenging the martyrs deaths by causing the Roman Empire to collapse during the rest of the seal judgments.
Christ is overthrowing the greatest power the world has ever known, the mighty Roman Empire, and He is doing it not with weapons, but with the sword of His Word. Jesus will return on a white horse to destroy the last phase of the Roman beast.
Here’s a short summary of the fulfillment of the 2nd seal of Revelation 6, then a video will give more details, followed by a verse by verse explanation.
The Red horse represents a bloody time in the Roman Empire from 180-284 A.D., as it went into a phase of revolution and civil war for 90 years, during which there were 32 emperors and 27 contenders for the throne.
This Revelation Timeline Decoded Bible study guide video covers the second through fifth seal judgments.
Here’s a video from BibleOrTraditions that gives more explanation of the fulfillment of the second seal.
The Lord Jesus is judging the pagan Roman Empire because they killed millions of Christians. He is avenging justice for their deaths.
The color of the horses represents the condition of the Roman people at that time, and the description of the rider represents the cause of their condition.
Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth.
Changing from white to red indicated the change from peace to bloodshed. The next era of the Romans was a bloody time and the horseman has a sword.
The earth envisioned by John was the Roman Earth, the Earth of prophecy, the territories of Europe and the Mediterranean; not the whole world as Mark and most Pastors teach.
that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.
When the Cretan Dynasty came to an end, this marked the beginning of Rome’s downfall.
The Roman Empire went into a phase of revolution and civil war for 90 years, during which there were 34 emperors and many contenders for the throne. All but two of them were poisoned or killed by the sword.
During this period, peace was taken from the Roman Empire, which was the seat of civilization and it was constantly torn by bloody battles between rival competitors for power.
Note: When the Early Church read John’s words, they would have understood that the prophecy applied to the Roman Empire, but the Romans would not understand.
This is one of the main reason that symbols are used, to hide the message from those who should not understand it.
If Jesus would have had John write that “the Roman Empire will have a civil war and they will kill each other,” the Romans would not have tolerated such teachings, and they would have persecuted the followers of Christ even more.
John describes the Roman Earth, not the whole Earth. He is describing the events that took place in the areas that Rome controlled.
John uses the word ghay for earth, which means “a region.”
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says regarding the fulfillment of the second seal of Revelation;
In inquiring now into the period referred to by this symbol, we naturally look to that which immediately succeeded the one which was represented by the opening of the first seal; that is, the period which followed the accession of Commodus, A.D. 180.
We shall find, in the events which succeeded his accession to the empire, a state of things which remarkably accords with the account given by John in this emblem–so much so, that if it were supposed that the book was written after these events had occurred, and that John had designed to represent them by this symbol, he could not have selected a more appropriate emblem.
In the authoritative book History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by the English historian Edward Gibbon, we find confirmation about the bloody civil war;
“Civil war and bloodshed: to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. Of the applicability of this to the time supposed to be represented by this seal, we have the fullest confirmation in the series of civil wars commencing with the assassination of the emperor Commodus, A.D. 193, and continued with scarcely any intervals of intermission for eighty or ninety years.”
J.C.L. De Sismondi in the book History of the fall of the Roman Empire says;
“With Commodus’ death commenced the third and most calamitous period. It lasted ninety-two years, from 193 to 284. During that time, thirty-two emperors, and twenty-seven pretenders to the empire, alternately hurled each other from the throne, by incessant civil warfare.
Ninety-two years of almost incessant civil warfare taught the world on what a frail foundation the virtue of the Antonines had reared the felicity of the empire.”
David Nikao Wilcoxson
Next Revelation Timeline Decoded Bible Study: The 3rd Seal of Revelation