“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” (Rev. 6:3–4).
The second seal is opened, and a rider on a red horse goes out. The first seal released a rider representing victory or conquest, which I take to be the Lord Jesus. The second seal releases a horse that is the color of bloodshed, the color of a god of war. Once again John is invited to “come and see,” which he does.
The thing to keep in mind is that the book of Revelation is about the replacement of the old Jerusalem below with the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven like a bride. In order to make way for the new Jerusalem, the old Jerusalem must be destroyed, just as Jesus had promised that it would be. Indicating the Temple, He said that not one stone was going to be left on top of another one (Mark 13:2). So in the first instance, what this means is that we should look for the fulfillment of all these troubles in the cataclysm that came upon the land of Israel.
This passage says that peace was going to be taken from the ge. A better translation than earth for this word would be land. The tribulation was coming down upon the land. Jesus promised that it would be like no other tribulation ever, and as the history books show, that is exactly what happened to the land of Israel between the years 66 and 70 A.D.
The fighting in that war began in Galilee, and the fighting was not only between Romans and Jews. There were also rival factions among the Jews fighting each other, and the bloodshed was terrible. By the time they were forced back to the defense of Jerusalem, there were three or four rival camps among the Jews.
The Lord Jesus said that they did not know what would make for their peace (Luke 19:42). They certainly did not. And in the next breath, the Lord spoke of the Romans leveling the city (Luke 19:43-44). The rider on the red horse rode into Israel, and he took their peace entirely away. It was not for nothing he was given a sword.