The Lamb, that is, Christ, broke open the first of 7 seals. These seals were pieces of a substance called wax, which held a book closed.
What happened next may remind us of Job 1:6-12. One of 4 great angels (special servants of God) spoke loudly a single word, ‘Come!’
With that word, he permitted a strange spirit, who appeared as the rider of a horse, to ride into heaven. Some people have considered this first rider to be Christ, as he too has a white horse in Revelation 19:11. However, we can see that the whole of Revelation 6:1-8 refers to a terrible war. The fourth rider is called Death, with Hades, and they are clearly God’s enemies in Revelation 20:14. So it seems better to say that all 4 riders are evil spirits.
Horses are strong, impressive animals which formerly were very important in war. The description in Job 39:19-25 shows that clearly. They were the animals that the most important military commanders rode into battle.
The rider on this white horse is a great military commander, a ruler and a champion. He has great success in battle. People consider him a hero. However, the results of his successes are absolutely terrible. People kill each other (6:3-4); people starve (6:5-6); vast numbers of people die (6:7-9). Such are the results of war, even when a war is necessary.
God has permitted it because these things must happen. It is necessary to destroy every evil force in this world, so that Christ can rule the world. God will not carry out any evil act to bring that about. However, he will permit evil spirits to destroy many things before the rule of Christ can begin.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.