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"The Book of Revelation, An Eschatological Study of the Endtimes", by Chad J. McCoy

Chapter Four
The Seals

Revelation 6:1-17

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" 2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.
5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"
7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" 8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"


As Jesus opens the first seal, a white horse appears to John. There was a rider upon the horse, who was holding a bow. A crown was given to him, and he rode off like a conqueror.
First let's interpret the meaning of the white horse. God has always used the color white as a symbol of purity.
Easton's Bible dictionary defines "white" as:

WHITE - a symbol of purity (Ps. 51:7; Isa. 1:18; Rev. 3:18; 7:14). Our Lord, at his transfiguration, appeared in raiment "white as the light" (Matt. 17:2, etc.)

So what do we have here, a holy horse? Well, let's see if this becomes clearer as we continue. Next we see that the rider has a bow.
Now a lot has been made of the fact that it says he had a bow, but that it doesn't say he has any arrows. I would submit that this omission is not significant. There are those that say this means that the rider doesn't have any ammo. I say he does.
When you hear on the news about a robbery, you hear that "two men wielding guns broke into the 1st national Bank this afternoon…" We all understand that the guns were loaded with bullets. It's not necessary to say so. I think the same thing is happening here.
Genesis 48:22 : And to you, as one who is over your brothers, I give the ridge of land I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow."
Do you really think that Israel took land from the Amorites with their sword and bow, but used no arrows? Oh, sure, they whacked them over the head with their bow in one hand, and their sword in the other. No, it is understood here, that they used arrows.
Joshua 24:12: I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you-also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow
Again, we understand here, that the bow referred to here was used with arrows.
2nd Kings 9:24 : Then Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot.
In this passage, the arrow is specifically mentioned as being the instrument of death. Sometimes, the arrow is mentioned, but because it is tied so closely to the bow, it isn't always spoken of.

1st Kings 22:34 : But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, "Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I've been wounded."
This passage does not mention an arrow. Because it doesn't, are we to believe that this someone drew back his bow and clubbed the king with it? Of course not.
People who walk into jewelry stores with the intent to rob them, proclaim "I've got a gun!" They don't have to add "…and it's loaded with bullets, too" for everyone to dive for cover.
The rider had a bow. Understand that this means he also had arrows.
Is it significant that the weapon this rider carries is a bow? A sword can do damage only at close range. A bow does damage over long distances. Does this mean anything? Could it be that it's the arrow that is significant, and not really the bow itself? Let's see what scripture has to say about arrows and see if anything suggests itself.
2nd Kings 13:17-19 : "Open the east window," he said, and he opened it. "Shoot!" Elisha said, and he shot. "The LORD's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!" Elisha declared. "You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek."
18 Then he said, "Take the arrows," and the king took them. Elisha told him, "Strike the ground." He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times."
Isaiah 49:1-3 : Listen to me, you islands;
hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the LORD called me;
from my birth he has made mention of my name.
2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.
3 He said to me, "You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."

Jeremiah 9:8 : Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
it speaks with deceit.

Zech 9:14 : 14 Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning.

Through these passages, I see the arrow being representative of a messenger; an object that travels with the purpose of delivering something. It is referred to in these passages as "the Lord's arrow of victory", Isaiah says the Lord made him into "a polished arrow", and the tongue is spoken of as being an arrow, delivering deceitful words.
How does this fit in with the white horse? Well, let's take a look at it: The purity of the horse seems to indicate that this horse and rider have been dispatched by God to do a godly work. This idea seems further strengthened by the fact that this rider is given a crown. Crowns are indicative of rulers, and those who make it to heaven will each receive one.
So we have a white horse, and a rider with a crown who conquers over long range with a bow.
So this is a messenger from God, going out on a holy crusade. Let's explore further.
Horses were used in the bible in times of war. In times of peace, donkeys were ridden. (Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey because he symbolized peace, not war; he represented life, not death.)
Easton's Bible Dictionary defines "horse" as:
HORSE - always referred to in the Bible in connection with warlike operations, except Isa. 28:28. The war-horse is described Job 39:19-25. For a long period after their settlement in Canaan the Israelites made no use of horses, according to the prohibition, Deut. 17:16.
The white appearance of the horse and rider show us that this is a holy messenger. Now regardless of whether he rides forth to do great good, or to deliver punishment, it is clear that his motivation is godly. This is not a false religion riding forth to claim converts. It is a holy type of spirit.
Granted, the rider is not mentioned as being clothed in white, only the horse is so described. However, with the detail John is giving us, I would imagine that if the rider were arrayed in red or black, he would have told us. Evidently what he saw was an image of a white horse and white rider.
Further on, when describing other riders of horses, John describes the riders having breastplates of yellow, red, and blue. He doesn't just say that they're red or they're yellow. He can make out three different colors, and he describes them to us.
In the same way, if this rider had been anything other than white, I believe John would have said so.
I conclude, then, that this rider is a holy spirit, sent forth to battle Evil.
The horse, rather than a donkey, and the fact that the rider is armed and rides forth to do battle puts any doubts to rest about what he is going out to do, which is to wage war. But exactly what kind of war is he going to wage, and against who?
The final shreds of mystery fall from this white horse as its identity is fully revealed, in Revelation 5:6.

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.

We know that Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. We know he is slain at Calvary, and ascends to heaven. What did he do once he arrived? He sent forth the Holy Spirit into the world.
And what is the first thing this Lamb does? It opens the first seal.
The Lamb is Jesus. The Lamb is also standing there in heaven looking as if it has just been slain! It doesn't look as if it has been slain 10 years ago, or last week; it looks like it was just recently slain! In other words, this is Jesus, just after he was crucified!
I think it plain that what we are seeing here is Jesus, who has ascended into heaven, and by opening the first seal, is sending out the Holy Spirit into the world to conquer Evil and the hearts of men!
He is going to wage a war for the souls of men!
Amazing! What a powerful passage of scripture!
This gives hope, it encourages, it uplifts the spirit! In a book so full of doom and gloom, and judgement, and damnation, and torture, and horror, there can still be found rays of sunshine, comforting words, and cheering assurances of salvation and deliverance. We can take great comfort in the fact that before any of the tragic events that are described in this book befall any of the inhabitants of the earth, the Lord first sent forth his spirit unto us, and fought a war for us so that we would be spared from the second death and the wrath that is reserved for Satan and his angels.
Before any of the judgement, before any of the wrath, before any of the horror, before any of the tragedy, we see Jesus sending out a Special Forces Unit in the form of his Holy Spirit to rescue us, and redeem us unto himself.
He loves us so much, and does not wish that even one of us be lost (Matt. 18:14). Revelation is not all death and disaster. It also contains a story of hope and triumph, of the ultimate victory over evil, and an eternal life in paradise. It's an action-adventure with a fairytale ending: And they all lived happily ever after.
If the white horse is the Holy Spirit sent into the world by Jesus Christ, conquering over long range with spiritual arrows, can we find a place in scripture that would seem to verify this? Can we find evidence of the arrows hitting their mark? Let's look at the scene on earth where the Holy Spirit was first sent out, fresh from Jesus Christ and the Throne Room of Heaven. Can we see the White Horse and his arrows at work here?

Acts 2:37, 38 : Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
They were PRICKED IN THEIR HEART! Here you are seeing the arrows of the Holy Spirit at work! Their hearts received a "prick" right before they were filled with the Holy Spirit! The arrow hit its mark, and took its first captives.
Lest you think that the word "pricked" might just mean that they were deeply moved, the Greek word used here was "katanusso", which means "to pierce thoroughly", or "sting to the quick", "to prick".
Immediately after being pricked in their hearts, they asked how to be saved, and Peter tells them to repent and be baptized and they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!
Praise the Lord! The White Horse is the Holy Spirit!

THE SECOND SEAL - Revelation 6: 3 - 4

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

This time, John sees a fiery red horse appear. Again, John does not comment on the color of clothing the rider is wearing, therefore I believe it must have been red, also. This rider was given power (not a crown, like the white horse). This was power to take peace from the earth and cause men to kill each other. This rider was given a large sword.
Again, we have a horse, symbolizing war. Reinforcing this idea of war is the large sword, and the explanation that the purpose of this horse and rider is to take away peace from the earth and to cause men to kill each other.
Plain and simple, this is the spirit of war. Let's explore the color red and see what the bible says it represents.
Numbers 19:2,3 : "This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. 3 Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence (a sacrifice for sin)
Isaiah 1:18: "Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool
The color red seems to represent sin. However…

2nd Kings 3:22,23: When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red-like blood. 23 "That's blood!" they said. "Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, M

Isaiah 63:2,3: Why are your garments red,
like those of one treading the winepress?
3 "I have trodden the winepress alone;
from the nations no one was with me.
I trampled them in my anger
and trod them down in my wrath;
their blood spattered my garments,
and I stained all my clothing.

Numbers 2:3 : The shields of his soldiers are red;
the warriors are clad in scarlet.

Revelation 6:12 : I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,

So we see then, that red can also represent blood, and is used to symbolize war.

Here are the points of the 2nd Seal:
· Red Horse
· Rider given power to take peace from the earth - not that the rider actually does the killing with his own hand, but that he causes men to kill each other.
· He has a large sword

Now on to the interpretation of these facts:
· The color red = SIN and BLOOD
· The horse and rider cause men to kill each other
· Sword = a weapon to do battle with
· Large sword - signifying that MUCH damage is done

Now what type of entity are we describing here?
· A sinful (evil) spirit OR a bloody, warlike spirit
· A spirit that causes men to kill each other to a GREAT degree

Now we're down to brass tacks. (Meaning we've stripped away all the confusing words, and are down to bare facts - don't go looking for brass tacks in the book of Revelation; there aren't any)
What we have here, is a demon of war. Could it actually be a holy creature, since it was sent by God? If it was holy, it would have had some kind of holy symbol associated with it, such as the color white, or a holy crown, or the name of God written on it. God would not have used the color red to represent holiness - take a look through the bible and you will see that it has never been done.
In addition, look at the Angel of Death, and how it did its work. As it passed over the houses in Egypt, the first-born sons lost their lives. That is the key to understanding that this red horse is not the angel of death. The angel killed the first-born, by God's order. This red horse will not kill men by its own hand (as the angel of death did), but will cause MEN to kill other men.
The strategy of Satan has always been to manipulate. He didn't cause Adam to fall from grace by giving him the forbidden fruit directly - he didn't even take it and give it to Eve. He manipulated her into taking it for herself, and through her, he engineered the fall of man. He's a manipulator, a behind-the-scenes schemer.
This fits in with the red horse causing men to kill other men, rather than kill them outright. The sword it has does not kill - its power is to take peace from the earth, and it accomplishes that by causing men to kill each other.
So the identity of the red horse is that it is an evil spirit of war.
You might think I'm going a bit far, labeling war as an evil spirit. We all know war is bad, and to be avoided, but at times it is necessary to protect our rights and freedoms. In the proverbial war of Good and Evil, the only reason Good still exists to continue the fight, is that it is involved in battle itself. So how can I label war as evil?
Matthew 5:43,44: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matthew 19:19 : honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'
Matthew 22:37-40: Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Romans 12:9,10: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
John 13:34, 35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
As you can see, God would have us to love. Not just our friends and family, but also our enemies. You can't very well kill someone you love, now can you?
If God's message to us is to love all people (which it is), then doing exactly the opposite (killing people) has to be seen as being evil. God is good. God is righteous. God is holy. Deeds that are contrary to the wishes of God are then bad, unrighteous, unholy. Evil.
God wants us to love. Love is good, righteous, and holy.
If we choose instead to kill, we are being evil; influenced by the Prince of Evil and our own sinful natures.
War is evil. In God's perfect Eden, everything was in harmony. God looked at His creation and said that it was Good. There was no place in God's perfect goodness for War.
When did we see war?
Rev. 12:7,8: And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.
Satan invented war.
War is Evil.

So the red horse of the 2nd seal is a demon of War. And not just plain old war. This spirit was given a Large sword, signifying Great destruction.
War. Great War. THE GREAT WAR!
So we have logically followed a chain of thought that now has us staring at the words GREAT WAR.
What does that bring to mind? We had a war once, that was called The Great War. It was World War One.
Then we had an even Greater War, in World War Two.
Ok, let's slow down. What possible link can there be with the red horse of Revelation, and the Great Wars of the 20th Century?
If the first seal is indeed the Holy Spirit being issued forth into all the world, then the 2nd seal should occur at a time following that Holy Spirit outpouring.
If the red horse just signifies war, it doesn't make any sense. There has always been war. The Israelites warred with many different nations - before Jesus was even born! Certainly this can't be simply the spirit of war as it was sent out into the world. War was already with us. Whatever this red horse signifies, it has to represent an event that occurred AFTER the Holy Spirit was given.
A thought occurred to me. This rider was given a large sword. Not just a sword. A large sword. Could it be that we have had war, but never to the extent that we have today?
Could this horse represent terrible war, such as the world has never seen?
I did a quick study. For this all to fit, I must be able to show that after the time of Christ, wars increased in their frequency and ferocity, involving huge masses of combatants. What I found was amazing.
Now a quick disclaimer: I am not a historian. In the events I am about to relay to you, I may have left out a few things. I may not have the whole picture. But I have enough of the picture, believe me, to understand what the red horse is.
I did a study on the internet of ancient wars, B.C. Wars, and ancient history. I wanted to find out what wars were fought before the birth of Christ, and what they were characteristic of. I then wanted to compare what I found with the wars of today and see if there were any differences.
I ended up going to just about every site the internet had on the subject, using nine different search engines. I learned that in all of the time before the birth of Christ (roughly 4,000 years) history records only 3 major wars. Now maybe I've missed some wars. As I said, I'm no historian. But hours spent on the internet looking for these things turned up only 3 major wars. Three!
1. The Persian Wars - fought between Greece and Persia from 500 - 449 BC. (51 years)
2. The Peloponnesian Wars - fought between the city-states of Athens and Sparta from 431 - 404 BC. (27 years)
3. The Punic Wars
War 1 - 264-241 BC (23 years)
War 2 - 218-201 BC (17 years)
War 3 - 149-146 BC (3 years)
These wars were fought between the city of Rome in Italy, and the city of Carthage in Africa.

So we have a period of 4,000 years, in which history only records 3 major wars. I'll simplify this a bit, allowing for the fact that maybe there were wars before this, but that history simply doesn't record them. So let's say that for a period of 500 years (Persian War started at 500 BC), we have 3 major wars, right up to the birth of Christ.
What characteristics did these wars have? Well, they were long-lasting for sure. Also, other than the Persian War, which was between two nations, these wars were between two cities.
Ok, let's do the same study of history from modern times. Just in the last 100 years, I know that we have had 5 major wars.
1. World War 1 - The Great War. 1914-1918 (4 years) - involved 32 nations.
2. World War 2 - 1939-1945 (6 years) - involved 41 nations.
3. The Korean War - 1950-1953 (3 years) - involved 20 nations.
4. The Vietnam War - 1959-1975 (16 years) - involved over 45 nations
5. The Gulf War - 1991 (less than 1 year) - involved 25 nations

Already I see a pattern. Before Christ, for a period of 500 years, we had 3 major wars. Now on the other end of the timeline, we have a period of only 100 years, and yet have had 5 major wars. The early wars were between two factions that had a disagreement. The wars we have today involve the whole world.
It is clear that something has changed. Sure we've always had war. But we haven't had war like this. It's men killing men. The rider of the red horse is at work in the world today, and it's obvious that he started his work somewhere after the time of Christ.
Remember the words of Jesus, when his disciples asked him what the signs would be that would foretell of the end of the world:
Matthew 24:6 : You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
He tells them that they will see wars, but they should not be afraid for the end is not yet. There will come a time when there will be war like never before, when the red horse is unleashed to take peace from the earth.
On one end of the timeline of history we have a period of 500 years where there were only 3 major wars, involving only two enemies. At the other end, we have a period of only 100 years, with 5 major wars involving the entire world. What changed? What brought this about?
I don't even need to look at the 1,900 years in between. It is clear that during those 1,900 years, something has been at work, manipulating men into destroying themselves. It is the red horse of Revelation.
Consider the following words recorded by historians concerning World War One:

The First World War is a detective story with no resolution for a very simple reason. It's what converts a controlled explosion into a monumental explosion which is the real question. Why Austria-Hungary wanted to punish Serbia for the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand is a question that we can answer. On the Sixth of July, there was a German-Austrian understanding about how Germany would support Austrian attempts to annihilate Serbia. We know that. That's not the detective story. The story is how did you get from there to the First World War, and who wanted that small explosion to become a big one? And, the answer is almost impossible to define. There are those who say that the German military and navy wanted it for years. This was their grasp for world power. This is the moment of truth, when they finally get what they should have gotten because of their economic industrial power. That means it's all malice aforethought, and the whole story is cooked up in Berlin. There are other people who say they wanted a small scale war, and got a big scale war instead, and lost it. But there's a third view that it is, as it were, a collective failure. As you said, the collective failure is that individuals who are diplomats, and with the intention of stopping these conflicts from getting out of hand simply didn't take it seriously enough, on both sides of the line.
I would have thought that the best way to understand this question of who was responsible for the outbreak of the First World War is to eliminate those of lesser responsibility. Nobody in London, nobody in Paris, nobody in St. Petersburg wanted the small war to turn into a big war. That conversion of the Balkan War into the Great War was not conjured up anywhere other than in Berlin and in Vienna. If there is a smoking gun, it's in one or the other of those capitals. But the jury's still out. The trial has yet to be concluded.