Again, we will continue with the same pattern. We trust God to explain to us the visions shown when the second seal was opened, the second trumpet was sounded and the second cup of judgment was poured.
The opening of the second seal-Revelation 6:3-4
“3 And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 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.” [KJV]
Upon reading this, we can tell that this vision is talking about a time of war and conflict in the world. But to understand the context of this world conflict, we need to consider the vision shown at the sounding of the second trumpet.
The sounding of the second trumpet-Revelation 8:8-9
“8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” [KJV]
In this vision, the mountain represents a kingdom. We know this because in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:44-45, the Kingdom of God is represented as a mountain. Thus, a mountain is the symbol for a kingdom. And since we are told that this mountain is great, then it means that when compared to the other kingdoms on earth, this kingdom is very great and powerful. Considering the time period of Stage 2, this kingdom is definitely referring to the Roman Empire, which was the greatest kingdom on earth in its time. When we are then told that the mountain was burning with fire, it means that the kingdom was raging with a lot of internal conflict. We are therefore looking for a time in the history of the Roman Empire when it raged with a lot of internal conflict, and the Civil Wars of the Tetrarchy seem to be a possible fulfillment of this vision.
We are told that this great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea and this caused a portion of the sea to become bloody. From Revelation 17:15 we learn that the sea represents the people of the world. As such, a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea is referring to the situation where the conflict in the Roman Empire caused a portion of the world to have a bloody experience-because the Roman Empire covered a great portion of the world and this civil war must have impacted a lot of people. It was a war caused by the different aristocrats struggling to gain the position of emperor, until Constantine emerged victorious. This was the situation in Stage 2, but we can learn more by considering the pouring of the second cup of judgment.
The pouring of the second cup of judgment-Revelation 16:3
“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” [KJV]
This vision further confirms the vision shown when the second trumpet was sounded. Knowing that the sea represents the people of the world, we would realize that both visions-this vision and the previous vision-have a general theme of a bloody experience for the people of the world, which is consistent with the initial vision shown when the second seal was opened. And this bloody experience was due to a great internal war within the Roman Empire.