In the Lord’s Prayer, that perfect and model prayer, we are also taught to pray: Thy Kingdom come. How important is this second petition of our Lord’s perfect prayer when we consider our Lord’s coming and the signs of that coming! We understand, of course, that this coming of our Lord Jesus Christ does not depend upon our praying of this petition. This coming will not come to a halt as soon as we stop praying for it. This kingdom will come and is coming. To pray, however, for the coming of the kingdom surely means, in the first place, that our prayers must never be in conflict with it. We must never pray for things which deny the signs of His coming. We must never pray for earthly peace, for an earthly peace that is supposed to be righteous and enduring, that wars and rumors of wars may never come, etc. However terrible these wars and rumors of wars may be, far more terrible would be a world at peace and without war! This would mean that Jesus would never come upon the clouds of heaven. Secondly, to pray for the coming of this kingdom, besides meaning that it may ever come in our hearts and minds, also means that we instruct our children in regard to the signs of our Lord’s coming. How terrible it is when the Lord comes as a thief in the night, or when the Bridegroom comes and we are wholly unprepared for it as the five foolish virgins of Matt. 25! Indeed, we must instruct our children in this truth. And, thirdly, we must also pray that the Lord may come as His coming is set forth in the divine scriptures. We are familiar with the precursory signs. These have been set forth in a previous article. This, of course, does not mean that we pray for and delight in these signs as such. How would this be possible? Wars and rumors of wars, persecutions, famines and earthquakes, the antichristian kingdom with its unprecedented persecution for the faithful followers of the Lamb are not things in which as such we can delight. They must, of course, be viewed as the signs of Christ’s coming. As these signs materialize and develop, we shall hear in them the footstep of the approaching crucified Man of Sorrows, now the King of kings and the Lord of glory. Besides, the people of God certainly can rejoice in them, if only we understand that they are signs of judgment. After all, our praying for these signs is strictly dependent upon our position in the midst of the world. Do we love this world? Do we cultivate and enjoy the friendships and associations of this world? Are we pilgrims and strangers in the earth and treated as such? Do we hate them that hate God? Are they our enemies who are God’s enemies? Do not the souls of the martyred saints under the altar cry for vengeance? Indeed, when these judgments of the holy and righteous God are visited upon the wicked, this is not so terrible after all. Indeed, everything depends upon our position in the midst of the world, upon our longing for the manifestation of God’s righteousness and His vengeance upon the wicked and ungodly.
In this article we would call your attention to the second horseman of the Apocalypse, to him who rides the red horse. In our preceding article we called attention to the black horse. We did this because this horseman surely describes very vividly the characteristics of our present day and age. The same reason motivates us in this article. How true it is that also this horseman is riding his red horse in our present day! We read in Rev. 6:3, 4: “And when he had opened: the second seal, I heard the 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.”
The identity of this horseman and his horse is plain. The color of this horse is red. Unto this horseman was given a great sword; power was given unto him to take peace from the earth and that men should kill one another. Red is the color of passion and anger, of wrath and bloodshed. This is plainly indicated in Is. 63:1-2and Heb. 12:29. The man that cometh from Edom is red in his apparel, like unto him that treadeth in the winepress. The sword given this horseman is the sword of the magistrate, of government; it is the government that wages war. And with this sword this horseman takes peace from the earth, causes men to kill one another. So, this second horse with its rider represents war. How characteristic this is of our present day and age!
Let us look at this horse, particularly in the light of history, Also this horseman is, of course, controlled and directed by our Lord Jesus Christ. That this horse has a rider means, we understand, that it does not run around aimlessly, at random, but that it is controlled and directed. And this second horse is directed by the Christ. Red, we repeat, is the color of passion, anger, and wrath. This certainly means that this passion and wrath, slumbering within the hearts and souls of men, are aroused and called into action. It is the Lamb who operates through these evil passions, so that peace is taken from the earth and men kill one another.
This horse is the horse of war. Nations have their beginning at the tower of Babel. The Lord had commanded the people to scatter upon the face of the earth. But man rebelled, and, led by the mighty Nimrod, would concentrate in one place, in the valley of Shinar, build a city there and in its center erect a tower that would reach unto heaven. Man would unite into one universal kingdom against the Lord. But the Lord confused their speech and caused the people to scatter; and here, at Babel, we have the origin of nations. And now wars have raged throughout the history of the world. Thus it was throughout the Old Dispensation. The first mighty kingdom is that of Egypt. Egypt is followed by the empires of Assyria, Babylon, of the Medes and Persians, the Greek-Macedonian, and finally Rome. Far more pronouncedand world-wide are these wars in the New Dispensation, when Christ comes, ascends into heaven, takes the Book of God’s decree, and causes these four horsemen to dash forth out of God’s decree, including the red horse. What wars have been fought throughout the ages of the New Dispensation! Rome is conquered by heathen hordes that swept down upon the imperial city from the north and east, after Rome had conquered Greece. Throughout the history of Europe, the various nations of that continent have been at war with one another. The undersigned heard a radio sermon several years ago in which the number of these wars was stated, and it was an appalling figure. Later it is Spain against England and the Netherlands, France against England, and in this struggle between France and England these countries also struggle for supremacy in the New World, America, and the French and Indian wars are only a part of this struggle. Then it is France with England against Germany, in 1914 and again in the second world war. Our own country, ever since its beginning, has had a war in every generation: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, and the Spanish War in 1898.
Indeed, these wars, instead of disappearing, are increasing, not only in number but also in ferocity. It is surely true that this Red Horse is dyeing the earth red. The First World War was world-wide; the Second was fiercer. Since 1945 the world has been at war constantly, as in Korea, and in Vietnam. We have had hot wars and cold wars; and today the world is witnessing a mad race for nuclear supremacy. And all this, we understand, is controlled and directed by the Crucified and Glorified Lamb; directed by Him, this red horse, controlling the evil passions and jealousies of men, goes forth with his sword, slaying men by the thousands and millions.
How true this is today! Do we see this sign of our Lord’s coming in our present day? Does it speak to us? And what is our answer to it? The mighty nations of the world today are constantly watching one another. The United States and Russia are ceaselessly attempting to survey each other. Of course, there is no trust between them. Whatever social injustices are committed by the U.S.S.R. are condemned by our country; yet, although condemning them, we must be careful that we do not offend this mighty power. Each country is aware of the other’s potential. The leaders of the earth speak of disarmament, of controlling and decreasing the nuclear weapons, of preventing another world war. And yet, at the same time, the rulers of our government declare very plainly that we must retain our military forces, and that, to insure peace, we must continue to be the strongest nation in the world.
How unutterably sad it is, on the one hand, but also how perfectly in harmony with the scriptures, that the church today, nominally speaking, joins in this search for worldly, earthly peace! That the world clamors for peace we can understand. We can understand that they speak of curbing these destructive forces. And yet they also realize that their preservation lies in their remaining strong and powerful. Fact is, the mighty powers of the earth cannot trust one another. Of course not! Are not all men haters of God and of His Christ? And this also means that they are haters of one another. Indeed, we can surely understand the world’s quest for peace.
What concerns us, however, is that the church of today is joining in this search for peace. Yet this need not surprise us. In Rev. 13 we have Scripture’s setting forth of the kingdom of the antichrist. The first beast, rising out of the sea, with its seven heads and ten horns, represents this power from its political aspect. However, this chapter also speaks of another beast. This second beast, rising up out of the earth, has two horns like a lamb and he speaks as a dragon. This beast represents the antichrist from his scientific, philosophic, and religious aspect. Here we have the picture of the false church. And this second beast serves the first; in fact, together they present to us the two aspects of the antichrist. More and more today the church is engaged in a social gospel. More and more it seeks and strives to make this world a better place in which to live. It would improve the world by attempting to curb and destroy all sickness and diseases. It would rectify all social injustices and inequities. It would also terminate all wars and rumors of wars. Already many years ago the undersigned heard a prayer that was uttered repeatedly: a prayer for a righteous, lasting, and enduring peace. How wonderful it would be if only the peoples of the earth would learn and understand the utter folly of war, if only the nations would beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks! How often we hear today the petition that we and our children may be spared the horrors and devastations of war!
Let us not be deceived. A wicked world at peace would be far worse than that wicked world characterized by wars and rumors of wars. Jesus is coming! He is coming throughout the ages. And one of the signs of His coming is the Red Horse, the horse of war. This horse is controlled and directed by the Christ of God, the Lamb of God and of Calvary. He sends forth this horse out of God’s decree. These wars must be. The wicked, saith my God, shall have no peace. It is only when the antichrist shall have established his kingdom that the world will be characterized by universal peace. However, this will not be of long duration. At the end of the ages God and Magog will rise up and attack this antichrist. That will be, the last battle of the ages. At the conclusion of this; terrible struggle Jesus will return upon the clouds of heaven. He will then make all things new. May the people of God, therefore, view this red horse as sent: forth by the Christ, and may it comfort us with the blessed assurance that Jesus’ final appearance upon the clouds of heaven is drawing nigh.