suggestion is that the rider on the fiery red horse is the Soviet Union or Marxism.
However, neither of these have done sufficient damage in the world to be
the rider on the red horse. We will not understand the identity of the red horse by
looking to current events. To discovered the significance of the red horse, we must learn
the meaning of the colour red from the scriptures
Red is the colour of Esau and his
descendants the Edomites. Esau was red when was born (Gen 25:25). The name Esau comes from
a root meaning "to press or to squeeze". The word Edom, which is the name given
to the nation which he founded, comes from a root word meaning "red".
The life of Esau and the experience of Edom is the key to understanding the rider on
the fiery red horse. Their history is a story of conflict between two families or tribes
who live together in the same land. It started with the conflict between Esau and Jacob.
It continued when Edom obstructed Israel on its return from Egypt to the promised land
(Num 20). The conflict between Israel and Edom continued until both nations were conquered
The rider on the red horse had a large sword with which to take peace from the earth
and make men kill each other (Rev 6:4). Esau was told that he would live by the sword (Gen
27:40; Num 20:18). The advance of the rider on the fiery red horse represents an outbreak
of inter-tribal warfare in many nations all over the world. Tribes which have lived
together in an uneasy peace will go to war with each other. Old disputes which have been
festering for hundreds of years will come to the surface. The new generation will turn
weapons onto their neighbours to settle the old grievances
The protagonists will use weapons supplied by the USA and the USSR to their cold-war
allies They will often be led by ruthless warlords who have received their training abroad
(1 Kings 11:14-28).
The tribal groups who go to war may often be quite closely related, as were Israel and
Edom. They will often have intermingled through marriage. This will add to the bitterness
of the struggles.
A good example of what will take place is the war that has taken place in Rwanda. This
country, which seen as one of the more, beautiful, peaceful and plentiful in Africa, was
torn apart and destroyed by inter-tribal war. When I prayed the Lord said, "Look at
Beirut Somalia and Bosnia if you want to see what the world will be like". In each of
these situations, terrible destruction has been caused by inter-tribal conflict. The rider
on the fiery red horse may have already ridden forth. We may be seeing the start of his
work in these countries.
The spiritual forces released by the rider on the fiery red horse can be discovered by
reading the story of Esau and Jacob. The same spiritual forces continued to work between
Edom and Israel.
The grievance will often be the result of deception (Gen 27:36). The dispute may relate
to a disagreement over the inheritance of land (Gen 25:54). One tribe may have dominated
the other, but they will become restless and cast off their yoke (Gen 27:40). They will
have held onto a grudge from the past, consoling themselves for many years with the
thought of killing the other They will make a vow to obtain revenge (Gen 27:41;Num 20:20).
These situations will be characterised by:
- bitterness (Gen 27:34)
- revenge (Gen 27:41)
- fury (Gen 27:44)
- betrayal of former friends (1 Samuel 22)
- retaliation (Ez 25:12)
- concealment (Jer 49:10)
- lack of wisdom (Jer 48:7)
- rebellion against parents (Gen 28:9)
- grief (Gen 27:35)
In many cases the war will begin with a guerrilla army fighting against government
forces (Gen 25:27). They will be so ruthless that they will inspire great terror (Jer
49:6). They will plunder with glee and with malice in their hearts (Ez 36:5), often
shedding innocent blood (Joel 3:19). Amos said of Edom:
He pursued his brother with a sword,
stifling all compassion,
because his anger raged continually
and his fury flamed unchecked
This is a good description of what the fiery red colour of the red horse represents.
Zechariah indicates that each of the horsemen will ride in a different direction.
However, he gives no direction for the red horse. This indicates that it will go all over
the world. When the horseman is released this kind of warfare will spread all over the
I suspect that we are already seen the second horseman at work in
Beirut, Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. More recently we have seen him at
work in Fiji, East Timor, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands. Rising
ethnic conflicts are becoming endemic in Southeast Asia. They first
struck Southeast Asian island states, such as Indonesia and the
Philippines, where religious and ideological guerrilla wars also have
an ethnic component. This ethnic conflict epidemic has now spread to
Indochina. Ethnic unrest has become violent in central Vietnam. Laos
and Myanmar already have ethnic-based insurgencies.
Multi-ethnic states of Southeast Asia are poised to struggle
with new ethnic conflicts that will hurt their economies and
possibly pose a danger to their territorial integrity.
In some places, the first horseman will have an
influence first. This is the case in Bosnia
These disputes will become so common, that the resources of the United Nations will not
be able to cope. We already seen how the UN has been powerless in Somalia, Bosnia and
The sword is a symbol of judgement. These events will be a judgement against those who,
like Isaac, have been complacent in their plenty, and putting the pleasures of life before
faithfulness and obedience to God (Gen 27:30-32)