12. Second Seal: Revelation 6:3–4 — The Midrashic Red Horse

Revelation: The only book that reveals Jesus Christ – “Revelation of Jesus Christ” – Rev. 1:1 – “come Lord Jesus” – Rev. 22:21 – Alpha to Omega – Facebook Group: Midrash Christianity – Compiled and written from records – before the Gospels

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard a second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. (Rev. 6:3–4)

The red horse is a biblical standout in the OT found in the book of Zechariah. In apocalyptic times, we see a man riding again on a red horse and he stood among the myrtle trees. Behind him were red horses, speckled (strong bay), and white. Myrtle trees had a part in the Feast of Tabernacles way back in Nehemiah 8:14–15, so here again is rejuvenation. The interpreter has to see the components — red horses and myrtle trees—to gain insight into the interpretation.

The angel that talked to Zechariah said, “I will shew thee what these (horses) be” (Zech. 1:9). The man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the Lord that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and behold, all the earth stoodeth still, and is at rest.” The horses are all kinds of people.

In Zechariah, it is in the time of the rule of Darius the Mede, and the Jews are returning from Babylonian captivity to rebuild Jerusalem and their culture. Interference and delays in rebuilding Jerusalem are graphed in Ezra and Nehemiah. The Jews are promised a leader, Zerubbabel, and Jerusalem is to be finally restored.

Zechariah, in chapter 6, reiterates the vision of the horses, enhancing the narrative. This is very important to John, the revelator, as he looks forward to archetype in the latter days of Christendom. Zechariah provides a token formula for us — “To day.”

There were red, black, white, and grisled and bay horses. They came out from between two mountains of brass, Media and Persia (the extant powers). The angel told Zechariah, “These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.” “The black horses … go forth into the north country” (Zech. 6:6). This was despite being warned to “flee from the land of the north” (Zech. 2:6). “Then cried he (the angel) and said, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit” (Zech. 6:8). Black horses characterize those who persisted with obtrusive, rebellious, captive hearts. Everyone can point the finger.

In symbolism, the north country illustrates an opposition to the south — the Negeb, southern Judah, including Jerusalem. In the old, the north represented Babylon. But in Revelation, it points at Christianity’s Babylon. The hearts and minds of those who went to the north country were Babylonian predisposed.

Now we return to the four chariots with horses coming out from Media and Persia. The white horses go forth after the black go forth into the north. But the white horses do not follow the black horses.

The book of Zechariah opened with an early mold of post-exilic Jerusalem. The book soon transcends several centuries, as prophetic books do. In long-since desolated Jerusalem, restored and reasonably peaceful, disaster strikes. These are the days of the Greek rule, and many Jews have apostatized. They have joined the ranks of Antiochus Epiphanes to plunder the temple and exterminate the faithful, steadfast citizens of Jerusalem.

Here, God sends a “valiant man” to deliver Israel. The savior was Judas Maccabees, son of Mattathias of Modin, an Ephramite. And he went forth, conquering and to conquer. Here is the white horse and his rider, Messiah; Faithful and True is Judas Maccabees. The white horse, in the days of the kingdom of the Jews, was in Judah; hence the horse is mentioned in Zechariah 1. The grisled horses also go forth toward the south country (Zech. 6:6). The bay sought to walk to and fro through the earth. So they did (Zech. 6:7).

The book of Zechariah commences with the rider of the red horse already in Jerusalem, standing among the myrtle trees. That is where he stayed to help the conqueror, and he is not mentioned as going anywhere in Zechariah 6.

The black horse does not appear in Zechariah 1. His rider is going to Jerusalem’s northern enemy and this black horse rider had nothing to offer.

One has to have an appreciation of Zechariah and reorder this to midrashic Revelation chapter 6’s last days pending the great Apocalypse, which was very distant in time. The space would be global, with many horses to ride. And a lot of images would be transposed from local to ultimate.

However, before returning to Revelation, an important question must be answered. Why was the rider of the red horse standing among the myrtle trees in the post-exilic Jerusalem? He was waiting for his bride. We, likewise, in our post–Judeo-Christian society are waiting for the book to be opened. Enlightenment will be like the bride coming to the wedding feast. You are invited to the coming wedding.

Post-captive Jerusalem was the capital of the kingdom of the Jews. A new era was dawning. The man under the myrtle trees represented the new kingdom. His older brother was a personification of the pre-captive kingdom of Judah, or the last seven kings of Judah. The older brother had died of apostasy. But his wife, the people of Judah (the woman, the enabler), was taken captive to Babylon.

Now the Jews were returning to Jerusalem. These people, figuratively speaking, were to be the red horse–rider’s bride, according to the ancient descriptive law: “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her. And it shall be, that the born first which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel” (Deut. 25:5–6). You can see how each story has its place, its home. Judah had died, having been taken captive. A new birth was required from the kindred and wife of the deceased. Revelation’s trumpets sound and call for a rebirth of a revitalized Judeo-Christianity, as we also stand among our myrtle trees.

Soon there would be a wedding, a great atonement or reconciliation, followed by the Feast of Tabernacles in the season for plowing and sowing, perennially. A new Jerusalem, the city of peace would be reborn. This celebration initiates the new rule, the Davidian prodigy redeemed. Presented here is Revelation’s type of, “the marriage supper of the lamb.” And Revelation 22:16, states, “I am the root and offspring of David.”

The vivid portrayal of the four horsemen in Revelation, seen in brassy statues, is a parody of the churches’ having theologically gone astray, in the wrong direction. Let us not err. The Bible has never been opened and is not something simply learned by rote. Revelation’s four horses have to be drawn out of Zechariah’s Grecian episode and transmogrified to the time when the book is opened. So the horsemen of late Christendom gallop similarly when it comes to finding the truth of the superlative. Though not judgmental, the four seals are introspective, asking each of us to examine our own feelings and knowledge and the correctness of our ideas. A great inspiration battle springs forth. Minds chatter, What is the book about? The battle takes peace from the earth as the conflict intensifies. Where can type be found? “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not come to send peace but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). And it is written, “They should kill one another.” Again, the gospel narrative is inscribed. “I am come to set man at variance against his father” (Matt. 10:35-36). All great change comes with upheaval, a great intellectual controversy about to be debated.

There was given to the rider on the red horse a great sword. With this powerful weapon he could help the trustworthy in their struggle. The sword, from machaira, is an instrument of war, or judicial punishment used against the defiant deceivers. The sword of the Spirit is the, “Word of God”, the word of probity, compassion, justice, and mercy.

The second seal reveals storm clouds forming on the horizon. Peace is taken from the earth, and people kill one another. Accepting the God of creativity is just too out of the box.

There is a mass of detail behind each seal needing careful consideration as we peep into this apex of masterworks. Be very patient.

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