Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The Red Horse of Revelation Six!
It is a remarkable fact that the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was not to bring peace to the parts of the earth to which it was to go but, on the contrary, conflict. For the past 2,000 years the gospel has caused strife wherever it has gone. It has aroused antagonism, hatred and discord everywhere. The White Horse rider with his bow has been closely followed -- even to the ends of the earth -- by the Red Horse with the “great sword.”
by John D. Keyser
"When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” And another horse, FIERY RED, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to TAKE PEACE FROM THE EARTH, and that people should kill one another; and there was given him a great SWORD" (Revelation 6:3-4).
The book of Revelation is of great importance in that it provides spiritual strength and insight for YEHOVAH’s people. It highlights YEHOVAH’s interest in the church (ecclesia) of His people and the close and loving care that Yeshua the Messiah exercises toward them as the Shepherd of Israel. Yeshua knows exactly what conditions prevail and what must be done. This is especially manifest in the first three chapters of the book.
Some people view Revelation as being so highly symbolic that it cannot be understood -- or they take little care in interpreting it to come up with fantastic and erroneous results. But YEHOVAH God wants His people Israel to understand, and He caused the Bible to be written to be understood and to provide guidance for them. The KEY to understanding Revelation is the same as the key to understanding other parts of the Bible -- YOU MUST USE THE BIBLE TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE! If we search the Scriptures we will find in them the things used as symbolisms in Revelation. By comparing these Scripture texts we can understand what the Revelation symbols mean.
The apostle John was steeped in the Old Testament and draws on the rich evocative imagery of the prophets. He knew -- as certainly as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel knew -- that what he wrote was directly given him by YEHOVAH God and stamped with His authority. So with this mind, let us delve into one of the most mysterious and awesome subjects of the book of Revelation -- the Red Horse of Revelation 6!
The Horse as a Bible Symbol
To correctly understand this portion of the book of Revelation, we need to learn the significance of the horse as a Biblical symbol. For this information we must turn to the Old Testament; for the horse is not mentioned in the New -- except in Revelation.
A study of the Old Testament will show that the horse is first of all the symbol of strength, might, or force of a certain kind for conquest and for progress. Characterized as he is by strength combined with speed and fearlessness, the horse aptly symbolizes that form of spiritual vitality and power that sustains, energizes and carries forward -- despite all that opposes it. It represents a GREAT SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT, whether good or evil. The horse especially typifies strength and courage for conflict.
We should especially notice YEHOVAH God’s own description of the characteristics with which He endowed the horse. Addressing Job, He said:
"Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder? Can you frighten him like a locust? His majestic snorting strikes terror. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he gallops into the clash of arms. He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; nor does he turn back from the sword" (Job 39:19-22).
Here YEHOVAH holds the horse up to admiration because of his strength, his utter fearlessness, and his refusal to be turned back by any form of danger. YEHOVAH further speaks of his irresistible determination and power to advance in the face of armed resistance:
"He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; nor does he stand firm, because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, “Aha!” He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of captains and shouting" (Job 39: 24-25).
The symbol of the horse and rider is as old as Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:17:
“Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider shall fall backward.”
The same figure, in a similar sense, is found in the Song of Moses when the children of Israel reached the far side of the Red Sea:
“Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to YEHOVAH, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!’” (Exodus 15:1).
From this we get the distinct idea that the horse represents the progress of some great enterprise backed by strong military power. Therefore, anything that is pictured in the Bible as being carried forward by a horse is a movement that is sustained by mighty power -- one that advances into conflict against the opposing forces with fearlessness and with prospects of success.
Other passages in the Bible reinforce this concept. Notice Isaiah 31:1 (note the words, “rely on horses...because they are very strong”); Jeremiah 4:13 (”His horses are swifter than eagles”); Jeremiah 12:5 (”how can you contend with horses?”); Hosea 14:3 (”We will not ride on horses”) and Psalm 33:17 (”Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength”).
When we take into consideration the significance of the horse as a Biblical symbol -- as well as other factors -- it becomes apparent that the Red Horse of Revelation 6, and its rider, presents a prophetic picture of the results of the MIGHTY SPIRITUAL INFLUENCES, agencies or powers, which were to arise and go forth to the twelve tribes of Israel in dispersion at the beginning of the “Christian Era” -- and which were to impart to that era those special characteristics whereby it is set apart from all previous periods in the history of YEHOVAH's people Israel.
That our era is clearly set apart from the eras that preceded it, that it has various characteristics which are all its own, and that its most distinctive features are due entirely to influences which came into being at -- and immediately after -- the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, are FACTS that cannot be denied! By common acclamation this age is known as the “Christian Era” and its civilization is commonly termed “Christian Civilization.” Throughout the world its system of reckoning time has the date (although incorrect) of the birth of the Messiah for its starting-point. As a result, all men throughout the civilized world render -- whether Christian or not -- involuntary recognition to Yeshua the Messiah. They acknowledge (even though it is most repugnant to them to do so) that YEHOVAH God’s doctrine has been the leading factor in shaping the course of human affairs for the last almost 2,000 years, and that the birth of the Messiah into this world was the beginning of an entirely new order of things among men.
In retrospect, we cannot fail to observe that the spiritual powers or agencies which have had the chief part in shaping the course of the affairs of YEHOVAH's people Israel from the dawn of this era until now, have been FOUR in number. Not only that, but a careful examination of these powers or agencies show that they correspond respectively -- and in the precise order in which they arose -- to the symbolical representations of the four horses and their riders in the book of Revelation. The resemblance is so clear in each case that it is readily seen when pointed out -- and no twisting or manipulation of the meaning of the symbols is needed to produce the true explanation as YEHOVAH God intended.
This unique correspondence between the broad characteristic marks of the Christian Era and the symbolical scenarios shown under the first four seals of Revelation is, in itself, STRONG PROOF of the correctness of the interpretation. The agreement is too complete -- and it extends to too many details -- to be attributed to mere chance.
The visions of these four seals represent the going forth of mighty powers YEHOVAH God has used to shape the course of affairs throughout the entire age. They are to reach the very height of their activities in the closing days of this era, and show to us that the end is near -- even at the door!
The Red Horse
These words aptly describe the symbols of a mighty spiritual agency or power that has exerted a tremendous influence in shaping the development of Christian Israelite evangelism down through the ages. The color of the horse (Red), the words “to take peace from the earth” and “kill one another” -- and the symbol of “a great sword” -- clearly testify as to the significance of this feature of the vision. What we have here is a symbolic prophecy of WAR. But it would be a great mistake to regard this symbol as meaning only (or even primarily) physical wars. It signifies something much broader in scope than that -- namely strife or variance of every sort. In other words, what is pictured here is something SPIRITUAL rather than material.
This is underscored by the Messiah’s words in Matthew 10:34, when he sent forth the twelve apostles to proclaim the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God to the ten tribes of Israel in dispersion. Their “peace” was to come upon every house they entered that was worthy, while if it were not worthy their peace was to return to them (v.13). Yeshua then warned them to “beware of men,” predicting that they would be DELIVERED UP TO COUNCILS, and that they would be SCOURGED and brought before kings and governors. He then warned them that brother should deliver up brother to death, and the father the child; and children should rise up against their parents and cause them to be put to death (vss. 17-21).
So here we have Yeshua the Messiah’s own words -- spoken at the first going forth of the gospel -- that the IMMEDIATE EFFECT would be antagonism, variance and deadly strife. In other words, the Red Horse was to follow hard on the heels of the White Horse! And then, to sum up the whole matter into a single vivid sentence, Yeshua draws a word picture which astonishingly agrees with this detail of the picture of the rider on the Red Horse, saying: “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword” (v. 34). When we compare these words with those of the vision in Revelation 6:4, “power was given him to take peace from the earth...and there was given him A GREAT SWORD,” we can’t help but come to the conclusion that this apparent similarity of language is designed to reveal to us that the prophecy and the vision refer to the same thing. Not only that but the Messiah’s next words explain the figurative expression “a sword” -- as follows:
"For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in- law against her mother-in-law, so that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household" (Matthew 10:35-36, JNT).
A Fire Upon the Earth
The Messiah’s words in Luke 12:49-53 throw additional light on this subject. Speaking prophetically and using highly figurative language (vs. 35ff.) about the time of his absence, he uses these words: “I came to send FIRE on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled.” It is very clear from what follows that the word “fire” in this verse is descriptive of the same thing as the word “SWORD” in Matthew 10:34 (we should understand that “fire” and “sword” are commonly joined together when used figuratively). For the Messiah goes on to say: “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather DIVISION. For from henceforth” (he had just referred to his approaching crucifixion) “there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
It is interesting to note that the Greek word John uses for "red" is purros or pyrros -- meaning "the color of fire" (compare our words "pyre," "pyromania," "pyrosis"). This is not the normal Greek word for red (eruthros), but a more specialized term that suggests fieriness or flickering reds, oranges, and yellows like a flame. It is the same word that John uses to describe the redness of the Dragon (Satan) in Revelation 12:3 (the third and only other occurrence is in a proper name, Sopatros Purrou, which is strangely not fully translated in Acts 20:4). This particular color intimates heat and ferocity like an out-of-control wildfire.
Meyer's New Testament Commentary states that
"πῦρ] Fire [in Luke 12:49], is a figurative designation, not of the Holy Spirit, as most of the Fathers and others, including Bengel, will have it, nor of the word of God with its purifying power (Bleek); but, as is manifest from Luke 12:51 ff., of the vehement spiritual excitement, forcing its way through all earthly relations, and loosing their closest ties, which Christ was destined to kindle. The lighting up of this fire, which by means of His teaching and work He had already prepared, was to be effected by His death (see ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν, Luke 12:52), which became the subject of offence, as, on the other hand, of His divine courage of faith and life (comp. Luke 2:35). The expression itself βαλεῖν ἐπὶ τ. γῆν proceeded from the consciousness of His heavenly origin. Comp. Matthew 10:34."
The Hebrew language does not have a similar, biblical term. However, the color red or scarlet in the Old Testament frequently symbolizes the blood of sacrifice -- see Leviticus 14:4, 6, 49-52 and Hebrews 9:19).
The words of the Messiah, cited above from Matthew 10:35-36, are a quotation from the Book of Micah, where it is written –
"For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house."
The birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem is foretold a little earlier in this same prophecy (Micah 5:2), and his sacrificial death is implied in Micah 6:6-7. It is extremely interesting to follow the connection between the going forth of the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God and the various forms of strife -- including wars -- that are sure to follow. The evangelists carry the gospel message into regions of Israel far beyond the reaches of civilization; they encounter opposition from their own Israelite people -- and often pay for their faith with their lives. But eventually animosity and suspicion are overcome by kindness and gentleness; the Israelites listen to the message; the gospel begins to do its work; and the community is slowly raised out of the depths of paganism.
Examples of this can be found in a number of ancient accounts.
The Red Horse Followed the White Horse to the Nations of IsraelSimon Zelotes
There is a long and ancient tradition that many of the Messiah's original 12 apostles and other disciples carried the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God to the far-flung regions where the twelve tribes of Israel had migrated to. Simon Zelotes was one of these. According to Dorman Newman:
"Some say he [Simon] went to Egypt, Cyrene and Africa, and all over Mauritania, preaching the Gospel to those remote and barbarous Countries. And, if we may believe our own Authors, he came into these Western Parts, as far as our Island of Great Britain; where having converted great Multitudes, with manifold Hardships and Persecutions, he at last suffered Martyrdom by Crucifixion, as 'tis recorded in the Greek Menologies" (The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles, 1685).
By the time of the Messiah, many of the twelve tribes of Israel had reached the British Isles, to be followed, later in history, by the rest of the tribes under the guise of the Jutes, Anglo-Saxons and Normans.
Probably one of the earliest historical traditions regarding a visit to Britain by Simon is mentioned by Dorotheus. This we find in the book, St. Paul in Britain, as follows:
"The next missionary after Joseph [to come to Britain] was Simon Zelotes the Apostle. There can be little doubt, we think, on this point. One Menology assigns the martyrdom of Zelotes to Persia in Asia, but others agree in stating he suffered in Britain. Of these the principal authority is Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre, in the reigns of Diocletian and Constantius (A.D. 300). His testimony we consider decisive:-- 'Simon Zelotes traversed all Mauritania, and the regions of the Africans, preaching Christ. He was at last crucified, slain, and buried in Britain....We conclude Simon Zelotes suffered in the east of Britain, perhaps, as tradition affirms, in the vicinity of Caistor, under the prefecture of Caius Decius, the officer whose atrocities were the immediate cause of the Boadicean war'" (Dorotheus, Synod. de Apostol.; Synopsis ad Sim Zelot., as quoted in St. Paul in Britain, by R. W. Morgan, p. 79).
There is also Eastern confirmation that Simon travelled to the British Isles to eventually be murdered there. Notice what Lionel S. Lewis lists in his book, St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, p. 117:
"(2) Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople and Byzantine historian, A.D. 758-829, wrote (Book II, c. 40): 'Simon born in Cana of Galilee, who for fervent affection for his Master and great zeal that he showed by all means to the Gospel, was surnamed Zelotes, having received the Holy Ghost from above, travelled through Egypt and Africa, then through Mauritania and all Lybia, preaching the Gospel. And the same doctrine he taught to the Occidental Sea, and the Isles called Britanniae.'
"(3) Greek Menology. The Menology of the Greek Church celebrates St. Simon's Day on May 10, and supports the statements of his having preached and been martyred in Britain (Annales Ecclesiastici, Baronius under A.D. 44. Sec. XXXVIII)."
George F. Jowett came to the same conclusion --
"Simon was unusually bold and fearless, as his name implies. In spite of the volcanic turmoil seething through Britain during the Boadicean war, Simon openly defied the barbaric Edict of Paulinus, and the most brutal Catis Decianus, to destroy anything and anyone Christian. He decided to conduct his evangelizing campaign in the eastern part of the Island. This section of Britain was the most sparsely inhabited by the native Britons and consequently more heavily populated by the Romans. It was far beyond the strong protective shield of the Silurian arms in the south and the powerful northern Yorkshire Celts.
"In this dangerous territory Simon was definitely on his own. Undeterred, with infinite courage, he began preaching the Christian Gospel right in the heart of the Roman domain. His fiery sermons brought him speedily to the attention of Catis Decianus, but not before he had sown the seed of Christ in the hearts of Britons and many Romans who, despite the unremitting hatred of Decianus for all that was Christian, held the secret of the truth locked in their hearts.
"The evangelizing mission of Simon was short-lived. He was finally arrested under the orders of Catis Decianus. As usual his trial was a mockery. He was condemned to death and was crucified by the Romans at Caistor, Lincolnshire, and there buried, circa May 10, A.D. 61" (The Drama of the Lost Disciples. Covenant Publishing Co. Ltd., London, 1980, pp. 158-159).
Some say that Simon was put to death by the British, not the Romans, but there is some controversy regarding this.
Another figure mentioned in the New Testament, and a disciple of the Messiah, who was also to met his death in Britain as a result of the ride of the Red Horse, is Aristobulus. According to legend, having first visited the Celtic tribes of Northern Spain, he preached the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God in Britain and became its first overseer. In the Martyrologies of the Greek Church we read:
"Aristobulus was one of the seventy disciples and a follower of St. Paul the Apostle, along with whom he preached the Gospel to the whole world [of Israel], and ministered to them. He was chosen by St. Paul to be the missionary bishop to the land of Britain, inhabited by a very warlike and fierce race. By them he was often scourged, and repeatedly dragged as a criminal through their towns, yet he converted many of them to Christianity. He was there martyred, after he had built churches and ordained deacons and priests on the island."
A fragment of Haleca, Bishop of Caesar Augusta (Saragossa in Spain) and published by Bishop Ussher, attests that "the memory of many martyrs is celebrated by the Britons, especially that of St. Aristobulus, one of the seventy disciples" (Helecae Fragments in Martyr.).
In the Adonis Martyrologia we read --
"March 15. Natal day of Aristobulus, Bishop of Britain, brother of St. Barnabas the Apostle, by whom he was ordained Bishop. He was sent to Britain where, after preaching the truth of Christ and forming a church, he received martyrdom."
The details of Aristobulus' death can be found the writings of George F. Jowett, notice!
"Aristobulus was well respected by the Silurians [in Wales]; he had come to them from Jerusalem, through Spain, and was known to be loved by Joseph [of Arimathea] and the Avalon band.
"Aristobulus in his preaching zeal journeyed far beyond the territory of the Silurian shield into the lands of the British Ordovices, whose hatred for the Romans was bitter and black. This blinded them to the facts, and he was unknown to them. Aware of the many ruses the Romans had instigated against the Britons in order to trick them into submission, they allied the presence of the aged elder brother of Barnabas to some form of Roman political treachery, in which religion played a hypocritical part of the scheme. They rose and slew him, given as the year A.D. 58 or A.D. 59, according to present reckoning" (The Drama of the Lost Disciples, p. 187).
Revered by the Brythonic Celts, Aristobulus lent his name to the medieval British kingdom of Arwystli -- which continues to this day as a cantref (Welsh land division) within the county of Powys, Wales.Simon Peter
Peter, like so many of the others, suffered and died as the result of the ride of the Red Horse of Revelation 6! Near the close of the gospel of John there is a hint given as to the manner of Peter's death. It agrees with the long-held tradition that Nero had Peter crucified head-downward on the Vatican Hill:
"As long as you were young, you girded yourself and went wherever you chose, but when you have become old, you will stretch out your hands and another will gird you and carry you where you do not want to go. This he spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God" (John 21:18-19).
This was fulfilled years later when Peter was an old man --
"Shortly after the dispatch of the second epistle [II Timothy] Peter arrived at Rome, and, according to the general tradition was crucified there in the Vatican, the scene of the other [earlier] martyrdoms, with his head downwards" (The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, by Thomas Lewin. Vol. 2, London. 1874, p. 368).
Peter died as a result of his preaching of the gospel and because of the death of Simon Magus (Acts 8:9-24) -- not as a scapegoat for the burning of Rome as some believe.
Simon Magus made an immediate impact on the city of Rome when he arrived there in 42 A.D. It is recorded that shortly after his arrival an attempted revolt by Camillus Scribonianus (the governor of Dalmatia) was put down by the army which remained loyal to Emperor Claudius. The success in putting down this revolt was ascribed to SIMON MAGUS' ARRIVAL IN ROME and the subsequent beguiling of the populace by his "magical" powers.
In her book Sacred and Legendary Art, author Anna Jameson states: "The magician [Simon Magus], vanquished by a superior power, flung his books into the Dead Sea, broke his wand, and fled to Rome, where he became a great favorite of the Emperor Claudius and afterwards of Nero. Peter, bent on counteracting the wicked sorceries of Simon, FOLLOWED HIM TO ROME" (Page 209).Anna Jameson continues:
"There can be no doubt that there existed in the first century a Simon, a Samaritan, a pretender to divine authority and supernatural powers; who, for a time, had many followers; who stood in a certain relationship to Christianity; and who may have held some opinions more or less similar to those entertained by the most famous heretics of the early ages, the Gnostics. Irenaeus calls this Simon the father of all heresies. 'All those,' he says, 'who in any way CORRUPT THE TRUTH or mar the preaching of the [true] church, are disciples and successors of Simon, the Samaritan magician.'"
Simon became so well known in Rome that he was eventually honored as a god. THIS is the man the Catholic Church is founded upon -- NOT the apostle Peter!!
Notice what Hasting's Dictionary of the Apostolic Church says: "The author or first representative [POPE] of this baptized heathenism...is Simon Magus, who unquestionably adulterated Christianity with pagan ideas and practices, with the aid and with the sanction of Christianity (so called) to set up a rival universal (OR CATHOLIC) religion" (Vol. 2, pp. 514, 566).
Notice, now, what Lactantius says in his letter to Pope Donatus:
"And while Nero reigned, the apostle Peter came to Rome, and, through the power of god committed unto him, wrought certain miracles, and by turning many to the true religion, built up a faithful and steadfast temple unto the Lord. When Nero heard of those things, and observed that not only in Rome, but in every other place, a great multitude revolted daily from the worship of idols, and, condemning their old ways, went over to the new religion. He [Nero], an execrable and pernicious tyrant, sprung forward to raze the heavenly temple and destroy the true faith. He [Nero] it was who first persecuted the servants of God; he crucified Peter, and slew Paul...." (Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, chap. 2. "The Ante-Nicene Fathers," vol. vii).
The Acts of Peter, a document of spurious origin, backs this up when it states that Peter was executed because he induced prominent Roman ladies to leave the religion of Rome, an action which quite often caused family rifts and breakup (The Church in Rome in the 1st Century, by George Edmundson. London, 1913, p. 108).
Another factor in Peter's death was Nero's friendship with Simon Magus. During his 25 years in Rome, Magus became a favorite of both Claudius Caesar and Nero; and Hegesippus, who wrote in the 4th century, describes the contest between Peter and Simon Magus over a kinsman of the emperor raised from the dead, and how Magus reached a dramatic end. Because of Magus' death, Nero was so enraged that he had Peter cast into prison. As far as Nero was concerned, this was the straw that broke the camel's back!
William Cave also mentions this:
"Such was the end of this miserable and unhappy man [Simon Magus]: which no sooner came to the ears of the emperor [Nero], to whom by wicked artifices he had endeared himself, but it became an occasion of hastening Peter's ruin.
"The emperor probably had been before displeased with Peter, not only upon the account of the general disagreement and inconformity of his religion, but because he had so strictly pressed temperance and chastity..." (The Lives of the Apostles).
Since Simon Magus died in 67 A.D. after residing in Rome for 25 years (42-67 A.D.), this places Peter's death at the very end of Nero's reign -- after Magus' ignominious death.Andrew
From what we know from church history and tradition, Andrew was martyred by crucifixion in the city of Patras -- which was on the northern coast of the Peloponnese in Greece. Given the fact that he was likely crucified there, he must have, like many of the other apostles, gone well beyond Judea to bring the Good News to all the tribes of Israel as the Messiah had commanded in Matthew 28:19-20. The church historian Eusebius wrote that he may have brought the gospel to as far away as Kiev -- which is now part of Ukraine.
According to William Steuart McBirnie,
"There are some impressive traditions about the later ministry of Andrew. One, recorded by Eusebius (HE III, 1, 1), is that he went to Scythia, which is southern Russia, in the area around the Black Sea. St. Andrew was known for a long time thereafter as the patron saint of Russia, and this adoption of Andrew as the holy patron was based upon the early tradition that he had preached the gospel in Russia" (The Search for the Twelve Apostles. Living Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1973, p. 80).
This is confirmed by an early apocryphal work entitled, The Acts of St. Andrew and St. Bartholomew, which gives as account of their mission among the Parthians; and according to the Martyrdom of St. Andrew (Budge) "he was stoned and crucified in Scythia."
McBirnie goes on to say --
"Another strong tradition places his ministry in Greece. There according to tradition he was imprisoned, then crucified by order of the proconsul Aegeates, whose wife Maximilla had been estranged from her husband by the preaching of St. Andrew. Supposedly Andrew was crucified on a cross which...was made in the form of an 'X'. To this day that type of cross is known as 'St. Andrew's Cross'" (The Search for the Twelve Apostles, p. 80).
Dorman Newman covers the life and death of Andrew as was his understanding at the time (1685):
"St. Andrew went to Scythia and to Byzantium where he founded churches. Thence to Greece and finally to Patrae [Patras] a city of Achaia [Greece] where he was martyred. Aaegaas [Aegeates], proconsul of Achaia, after debate, ordered Andrew to forsake his religion or be tortured fiercely" (The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles, p. 43).
From a book obtainable in the church of St. Andrews in Patras we get added information on the life and death of Andrew:
"Holy Tradition says that Andrew went to the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains (present day Georgia in Russia), and he preached to the race of Scythians as far as the Caspian Sea.
"He finally reached Byzantium (present day Istanbul) and there he ordained Bishop [Overseer] Stachys.
"Andrew was imprisoned and stoned and suffered much for Christ....In spite of this he continued his Apostolic task of ordaining priests and Bishops and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ....
"From Byzantium he continued to Greece for his main Apostolic journey. He travelled to Thrace and Macadonia down through the Corinthian Gulf to Patros. It was in Patros that Andrew was to preach the Gospel of Christ for the last time.
"Aigeatis, the governor of Patros became enraged at Andrew for his preaching and ordered him to stand before the tribunal in his attempt to do away with the Christian Faith. When Andrew resisted the tribunal the governor ordered him crucified" (The First-Called Apostle Andrew, by Archimandrite Hariton Pneumatikakis).
It is fascinating to note that a few bones, reputed to be those of Andrew, were taken to Scotland in the fourth or fifth century by a Christian known as Regulus. "There they were buried at a place which was later called, 'St. Andrews.' The Apostle is today the patron saint of Scotland, and 'St. Andrews' Cross' is the official symbol of that great Christian country" (McBirnie, p. 82). Why were these supposed bones of Andrew taken to Scotland, of all places? The answer can be found in the famous Scottish Declaration of Independence:
"Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea [Mediterranean Sea] and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today.
"The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner.
"The high qualities and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this: that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, called them [the 10 tribes of Israel in dispersion], even though settled in the uttermost parts of the earth, almost the first to His most holy faith. Nor would He have them confirmed in that faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles -- by calling, though second or third in rank -- the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed Peter's brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection as their patron forever" (Declaration of Arbroath, April 6, 1320).
These are but a few examples of the ride of the Red Horse as it galloped after the White Horse to the lands of the northern 10 tribes. All of the apostles -- with the possible exception of John -- were put to death for preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God to the people of Israel dispersed amongst the pagan nations of the then-known world. The Red Horse was to continue its ride down through the centuries and is rearing its head in many parts of the world today. Truly, the preaching of YEHOVAH's truth has taken "peace from the earth" and torn asunder families and friends as predicted by the Messiah.
I have experienced this in my own life -- tell your family and friends that you are no longer observing Christmas, Easter, Halloween, birthdays; and that you will henceforth be keeping YEHOVAH's Sabbath day and annual holy days and keeping His food laws as outlined in Leviticus 11 -- and see how quickly they bolt for the door!
Such, then, were the various kinds of “wars and fightings” that were to follow the gospel message everywhere that it went. This has been the state of affairs from the days of the apostles of the Messiah until now. The gospel has divided families into hostile camps, tearing apart the very closest ties of nature. Then, with its effects widening, it has divided communities into antagonistic groups; and then nations; and finally it has set nation against nation. Sometimes the warfare has been confined to words, feelings and attitudes.
More often than not it has taken the form of physical violence -- persecutions, imprisonments, tortures, and where there was resistance (as between Protestants and Catholics in France, and later Ireland) civil wars. The Roman Catholic Church murdered millions of people (including true Christians) during the Middle Ages -- this would never have occurred but for the gospel. All other causes of dispute put together have not contributed nearly as much to hostility between human beings as the single cause of religious difference regarding the gospel. The Messiah’s words have proved profoundly true: “I came NOT to send peace, but a SWORD”! What tremendous foresight Yeshua possessed!
Note: All the races and areas mentioned in these quotes refer to the 10 tribes of Israel in dispersion. Writes researcher Steven M. Collins, "the Saca Scythians were relocated members of the [northern] ten tribes. Since ancient historians affirm the Parthians were kinsmen of the Sacae Scythians...it is evident that the Parthians were also part of the ten tribes of Israel" (Parthia: The Forgotten Ancient Superpower and Its Role in Biblical History. Bible Blessings, Royal Oak, MI, 2004, p. 8). Israelites, for the most part, founded Greece and Rome and many other areas, including the Iberian (Hebrew) Peninsula. Israelite traders sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar, up the western coast of Iberia, all the way to the British Isles, which was referred to in Scripture as "the ends of the earth."
The same volume states that "the House of Israel refers to the ten tribes of Israel who, in Jesus Christ's lifetime, included the Celts of Europe, the Sacae/Saka Scythians and the Parthians in Asia. Since the area of Parthian and Saka dominance extended as far as India, portions of the ten tribes of Israel could be found that far into Asia....the tribes of Israel then inhabited the British Isles and even portions of India at the eastern edge of Parthia's empire" (ibid., p. 174).
The Red Horseman's "Sword"
The explanation of the meaning of the Red Horse has been given by the Messiah himself -- from his very own lips! How needful it was that his very own people should hear the truth from his very own lips -- that it was the EXACT OPPOSITE, “not peace but a SWORD”!
The horseman's "great sword" is a translation of machaira megalee. This, however, is not the ordinary sword of war (romfaia) but a short sword or long knife like a dagger. Frequently, machaira is the knife used to prepare a sacrifice or to slaughter an animal for food, and is certainly not the sort of weapon that a soldier would go to a normal war with. It is also the sword worn by magistrates and executioners. That the Red Horseman's dagger is "great" (megalee) means that it is highly effective in doing its job.
In this case the sword (or dagger) is a symbol of YEHOVAH's judgment. David writes in Psalm 7:12, "If [the wicked] does not turn back, He [YEHOVAH God] will sharpen His sword." In Isaiah 34:6, 8, in the context of the Day of the LORD, YEHOVAH God combines the sword of judgment with the idea of sacrifice and conflict.
In the Book of Acts we can see clearly the beginning of the career of the Red Horse rider. Strife began where the gospel began -- in Jerusalem where “a great persecution” swirled around Stephen. From here it went forth, always following the course of the gospel. At Antioch in Pisidia the Jews raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas -- and expelled them from their coasts. At Iconium the Jews stirred up the Gentiles against them, the result being that Paul was severely stoned and thought to be dead when dragged from the city.
At the gospel’s first appearance in Europe, at Philippi, antagonism and persecution immediately came to the surface. Next, at Thessalonica, the entire city was in an uproar. At Corinth and at Ephesus it was the same story; and so on to the end. The gospel was making its way against the united opposition of Judaism, Paganism, Greek philosophy and Roman cynicism -- which afterwards changed into fierce persecution -- and everywhere causing strife.
Not Actual Physical War
We should note that there is nothing in the symbols of the second seal which speaks of actual physical war. This we find under the fourth seal, where we find the words “to kill with the sword.” In the seal under discussion the words “to take peace from the earth” DO NOT imply war in the ordinary sense. The word “peace” in its Biblical significance means welfare, prosperity, tranquility. At the time of the Messiah and the apostles the world was caught up in the pax Romana -- a state of political tranquility maintained by the iron hand of Imperial Rome.
Historians describe this remarkable era of Roman domination as “The two centuries of peace.” This era began with the reign of Augustus Caesar (30 BC - 14 AD) who was at the very height of his career when the Messiah was born in Judea (Luke 2:1). The reign of Augustus is regarded by secular historians as “the beginning of a new age.” Little do they realize to what extent, and in what manner, that “new age” was shaped by the influence of the child of Bethlehem and the man of Galilee.
The pax Romana was thoroughly established over the known world in the days of Tiberius Caesar, the successor of Augustus, who ruled the empire at the time of Yeshua’s ministry. It continued through the reigns of Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Trajan and Hadrian, to that of Marcus Aurelius. It embraced the period of John’s visions on the island of Patmos, except for one outbreak in the days of Domitian, which was probably the occasion of John’s exile. With this fact in mind we can see special significance in the words spoken about the RED HORSE RIDER -- that it was “given him to take peace from the earth.” This was done so effectively that strife, wars and fightings have not ceased from that time to this, nor will until the return of the Messiah and YEHOVAH God. These words could not apply to the last days of our era because THERE WILL THEN BE NO “PEACE” TO BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THE EARTH!
It is a remarkable fact that the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God was not to bring peace to the parts of the earth to which it was to go but, on the contrary, conflict. For the past 2,000 years the gospel has caused strife wherever it has gone. It has aroused antagonism, hatred and discord everywhere. The White Horse rider with his bow has been closely followed -- even to the ends of the earth where the 12 tribes of Israel were dispersed -- by the Red Horse with the “great sword.”
Violent Resistance to the Word of YEHOVAH God
The proclamation of the soon-coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God has had the effect of intensifying and evoking outbursts of all the hatred to be found in the hearts of men. The Kingdom of YEHOVAH God has battled upstream all the way since its' first announcement! It has had to advance against all the opposing currents of human desires, plans, ambitions, opinions and philosophies. YEHOVAH God made known that His Kingdom -- instead of finding ready acceptance and being at once established throughout the Israelite world -- was to encounter the most determined and violent resistance from all the powers of Satan and that it was to be WAR from start to finish!
The Messiah told his followers that they must be prepared to endure persecution like good soldiers; that they must take to themselves all the armor of YEHOVAH God; that they would need a sword more than a cloak; that there was to be “no discharge in that war,” since they must fight to the very end the good fight of faith. That the spiritual warfare he foretold would last for twenty centuries was not -- and could not -- have been imagined for a moment by the first disciples. But we, from our place in time, can see, in the light of these visions of the Book of Revelation, that it was to be so.
Therefore, we should keep in mind that while the influences represented by the last three horses of Revelation are in their very nature evil and hostile to the gospel, they nevertheless are appointed to further YEHOVAH’s purposes in the spreading of the gospel. For example, the opposition that Satan raised up everywhere against the apostle Paul -- which caused Paul to be removed from the field of labor and imprisoned in Rome -- had just the opposite effect from that which Satan intended. Paul, guided by the spirit of YEHOVAH God, was able to write from his prison and say, “I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). And so it will be with all these bitterly hostile influences. While recognizing their evil character and intent, we may nevertheless view them as agencies which YEHOVAH God is using for the accomplishment of His great plan and purpose for this age and for His people Israel.
(Be sure to read the articles on the other three horses of Revelation 6!)
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah to Set Up the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God Here On This Earth!
|Scan with your