Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
When Jesus opens the second seal, a fiery red horse comes out! Artists use red sparingly because it commands attention. And God, the master painter, used the brightest red possible to paint the mission of this second rider. This is a “red flag” warning us to be on guard.
This horseman receives power to “take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other.”
Peace, in this story, includes much more than just the absence of war. The Bible’s picture of peace is about the harmony in creation revealed in Genesis 1:31: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
The clearest example of this peace is found in the life of Jesus, given for our sake. He is described as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). And when he was born, a multitude of angels from heaven gave glory to God and announced the coming of peace on earth (Luke 2:14).
In the picture of the rider on a fiery red horse, however, this vision opens our eyes to the power of evil in our midst, robbing creation of God’s peace (shalom). We are especially warned to be on guard about this rider’s goal to create violence, making people kill each other.
We need to be wary of this red flag as we follow Jesus in his mission to bring peace on earth.
Thank you, God, for warning us about the fiery red horse and rider. Guide us to follow Jesus closely. For the glory of your name we pray. Amen.