Revelation Chapter 6:2
Revelation 6:2 – And I looked, and behold, a white horse.
The four living creatures announce the arrival of four horses in the first four seals. Each horse has a rider, but the attention is initially drawn to the horse. The horses’ prominence over the horsemen should draw us to seek meaning in other Scripture to their significance. As shown in the introduction, these horses are found in the book of Zechariah and tied to God’s judgment.
Recall from Revelation 1:14, the color white usually represents purity and cleansing from sin (Isaiah 1:18, Psalms 51:5-7). However, in the context of this passage in Revelation, white symbolizes conquest. Incidentally, great military leaders like Alexander the Great, Napoleon and others are often found riding white horses in portraits.
The Tribulation begins with the arrival of a white horse with a conquering rider, and ends with the arrival of a white horse with a conquering rider:
Revelation 19:11-15 – Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
These two white horses, however, are not the same. As discussed in the introduction, the first white horse on conquest has connections to the other three horses that follow. The white horse that comes at the end of the Tribulation also has a rider coming in conquest, but this horse is not connected to the other horses of war, desolation, and death, and its rider comes to put an end to the judgments. In other words, while both white horses come in conquest, the first wreaks havoc in destruction and the last comes to bring peace to the world. The rider of the last white horse is clearly the Lord Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). The rider of the first white horse is different, as noted below:
|White horse at the
beginning of the Tribulation
|White Horse at the
end of the Tribulation
|Rider has a bow||Rider has a sword|
|Rider has a victor’s crown (stephanos)||Rider has royal crowns (diadems)|
|Followed by different
colored horses of judgment
|Followed by the armies
in Heaven on white horses
|Peace taken from the earth
by the red horse that follows
|Peace brought to the earth
by the rider on the white horse
Revelation 6:2 – He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
The rider of the first white horse carries a bow. A bow is a weapon of war:
1 Chronicles 5:18 – The sons of Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty valiant men, men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with the bow, and skillful in war, who went to war.
Isaiah 21:15 – For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the distress of war.
Jeremiah 6:23 – They will lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, as men of war set in array against you, O daughter of Zion.
2 Samuel 22:35 – He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
God uses the bow in judgment:
Psalms 7:11-12 – God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready.
Jeremiah 46:9-10 – Come up, O horses, and rage, O chariots! And let the mighty men come forth: The Ethiopians and the Libyans who handle the shield, and the Lydians who handle and bend the bow. For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that He may avenge Himself on His adversaries. The sword shall devour; it shall be satiated and made drunk with their blood; for the Lord GOD of hosts has a sacrifice in the north country by the River Euphrates.
Jeremiah 50:14-15 – “Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around, all you who bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD. Shout against her all around; she has given her hand, her foundations have fallen, her walls are thrown down; for it is the vengeance of the LORD. Take vengeance on her. As she has done, so do to her.”
Lamentations 2:4 – Standing like an enemy, He has bent His bow; with His right hand, like an adversary, He has slain all who were pleasing to His eye; on the tent of the daughter of Zion, He has poured out His fury like fire.
Zechariah 9:13 – For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you like the sword of a mighty man.
The first white horse comes in conquest. Many believe that the rider of this white horse is the antichrist, as he will set out to conquer the nations:
Daniel 11:39-44 – Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.
Daniel 8:24 – His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means.
Conquest doesn’t necessarily come with war. Some believe that because arrows are not mentioned with the bow, the rider of the first white horse comes to conquer in diplomacy. However, there are other passages where arrows are not mentioned, but implied:
2 Samuel 1:22 – From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, and the sword of Saul did not return empty.
1 Kings 22:34 – Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”
2 Chronicles 17:17 – Of Benjamin: Eliada a mighty man of valor, and with him two hundred thousand men armed with bow and shield.
That being said, the antichrist does begin his conquest in diplomacy, before using military means to expand his power. (Note: The following prophecy in Daniel 11 was partly fulfilled in history by Antiochus Epiphanes, but complete fulfillment is yet future in the antichrist):
Daniel 11:21-24 – And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.
Daniel 9:26-27 – …And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary… he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week….
This covenant of peace is a false peace and a “covenant with death” (Isaiah 28:15-22), in contrast to the true covenant of peace, which the Lord will make with Israel when He returns:
Ezekiel 34:25, 27-28 – I will make a covenant of peace with them…. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid.
Recall from Zechariah 6:5, the four horses the Lord sends out in judgment, including the white horse, are spirit beings. The passages below describe similar spirit horses with riders that are spirit beings as well:
2 Kings 2:11-12 – Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.
Joel 2:3-5, 7-9, 11 – A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; surely nothing shall escape them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; and like swift steeds, so they run. With a noise like chariots over mountaintops they leap, like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, like a strong people set in battle array…. They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, they are not cut down. They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief…. The LORD gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?
The rider of the white horse is not the antichrist himself, as he is a man (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Rather, the evidence suggests that the rider is the spirit of lawlessness. There are at least two archers in Scripture who were antichrist types, which support this notion. The first archer in the Bible was Ishmael (Genesis 21:21). Another famous archer was Esau (Genesis 27:1-4). As shown in the study: “Nationality of the Antichrist,”the spirit of lawlessness has manifest in the offspring of Ishmael and Esau. The antichrist may even be offspring from this same cursed line. Whether or not this is the case, the antichrist will certainly be operating in the spirit of lawlessness.
Note the white horse or its rider cannot be the spirit of antichrist. The spirit of antichrist works to deny Christ:
1 John 4:2-3 – By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
The man who will be the antichrist will work in both the spirit of antichrist, denying Christ, and the spirit of lawlessness, set out to conquer by any means.
The rider on the first white horse wears a crown. The crown of the first rider is a “stephanos.” As discussed in the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” study, the “stephanos” is the victor’s crown. In the ancient Olympics, judges awarded ivy crowns or wreaths, called “stephanos,” to the winners of the various events at the “Bema.” They still do this at the Olympics and other athletic events today, using medals instead of crowns. This crown is different from the crowns the Lord Jesus Christ wears when He returns on the last white horse in Revelation.
The Lord has “diadems,” or crowns of royalty on His head when He returns to Earth (Revelation 19:12). That being said, the Lord does wear the “stephanos” in Revelation 14:14, when He harvests the last of the souls of the Tribulation Saints to Heaven, before He returns. Wearing the “stephanos” in this instance shows the Lord’s victory in winning souls, in the midst of the trials of the Tribulation.
The crown of thorns put on the Lord’s head at His crucifixion is also called a “stephanos” (Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:17, John 19:2, 5). The thorns represent His rejection (Hebrews 6:8). But this rejection led to victory over sin and death because of the cross (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). In contrast, when the Lord returns wearing “diadems,” it symbolizes His royalty as “King of kings”:
Since the “stephanos” is a crown of victory, the rider of the first white horse wearing this type of crown signifies victory in his conquest:
Revelation 13:4-7 – So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
Daniel 8:23-25 – “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. “Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means.””
The reason the antichrist will be successful in conquest through the Tribulation period, is because of the unrestrained spirit of lawlessness working through him until the Lord returns:
2 Thessalonians 2:7-9 – For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.
In short, the white horse rides out in judgment when the Lamb of God breaks the first seal on the “purchase deed” to the earth. The rider on the white horse has characteristics of the antichrist, but other scriptures show that the horses and their riders sent out by God are spirit beings. Therefore, the first white horse and his rider represent the spirit of lawlessness, who operates through the antichrist in victorious conquest, first by diplomacy, and later by military force.
The First Seal: Initiates the worldwide conquest by the false messiah, the Antichrist (compare Matt. 24:5). He will be the final Gentile world ruler (see 13:1-7). This horseman is not the same as the one described (in Rev. 19:11), which is Christ at His second coming.
“A White Horse”: The first of the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse is white. The rider has a bow but no arrows, indicating that although he is militarily strong, in the beginning he does his conquering by diplomacy. Since he wears a crown, we know he is successful in his efforts. And who is the rider on the white horse? There can be no doubt that it is the “force” of the Antichrist, who through deceit and clever maneuvering will bring a false peace to the world. But that peace will not last.
The animal represents an unparalleled time of world peace, a false peace that is to be short-lived (see note on verse 4). This peace will be ushered in by a series of false messiahs, culminating with the Antichrist (Matt. 24:3-5; (see article “Antichrist”).
“He that sat on him”: The 4 horses and their riders do not represent specific individuals, but forces. Many identify this rider with Antichrist. Although he will be the leading figure, John’s point is that the entire world will follow him, being obsessed with pursing this false peace.
“Bow”: The bow is a symbol of war, but the absence of arrows implies that this victory is a bloodless one, a peace won by covenant and agreement, not by war (compare Dan. 9:24-27).
“Crown”: This word refers to the kind of laurel wreath awarded winning athletes. It “was given to him”. Antichrist becomes king, elected by the world’s inhabitants regardless of the cost, and will conquer the entire earth in a bloodless coup.
The Bible is spoken of as a two edged sword. We are told over and over that the flesh and the Spirit are in constant conflict.
Verses 3-4: The “second seal” brings war and a lack of “peace” (compare Matt. 24:6-7). The “sword” represents armed conflict. Perhaps the attacks on Israel mentioned (in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39; Dan. 11:40-44), are also in view.
image courtesy: Revelation 6-2 – a liitle perspective
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.