The colour of this second horse was bright red, like fire.
Red, of course, is the colour of blood, and the riderís purpose is to shed blood - in other words, to kill people. However, the rider does not himself kill people; he causes people to kill each other. Therefore this rider, like the other riders, seems to be an evil spirit. He has the power to cause people to behave in a certain manner.
This second rider seems to work closely with the first rider (verses 1-2). The second rider takes away peace; the first rider makes war. The first rider has a bow to shoot arrows; the second rider carries a sword. Both of these were necessary in ancient battles. Soldiers used arrows to shoot from a distance; they used swords to attack enemies that were near them. Arrows caused great fear, but the swords probably caused many more deaths.
The first rider is impressive and attractive. He is a hero and a champion. People give him honour. He is successful in everything that he does. The second rider is nasty and cruel. He causes pain and trouble. Nobody likes such things. However, the two riders belong together; they are carrying out the same evil work. They are causing a terrible war.
It may be interesting to compare the rider on the red horse with Christ. The rider sheds the blood of many people in order to cause their deaths. His purpose is to take away peace. Christ offered his own blood so that people from every nation can have life without end (5:9-10). His purpose is to give real peace to those people (John 14:27; Revelation 21:3-4).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.