The First Rider On The White Horse Commentary on Revelation 6:1-2
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Who is the first rider on the white horse? Is it the Antichrist? Is that what you have been taught? That is what we believed for many years and had even instructed others in the same interpretation. In many traditional, pretribulational eschatology circles, the "first rider of the Apocalypse" is thought or presumed to be the "antichrist." But what if we were to examine this just a little closer, what would we find? This is going to be amazing, proven using the Bible itself, not man- made "theories." The THEORY of the antichrist being the "first rider" appeals to our preconceived ideas (they have been embedded into our minds since the turn of the 20th Century) but BIBLICAL truths are proven using the Bible itself.
Pray for understanding. Let's begin...
THE VICTOR'S CROWN
Rev 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. Rev 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Many teachers have proposed "the antichrist" as the first rider. They give excellent arguments, no doubt, appears to be him but the bible DOES NOT say that it is him. And there is a problem with such an assumption-- A very big problem with this interpretation. You see, when one views the antichrist as opening the Apocalypse, then that causes a "domino effect" of error to occur within our eschatology. Most Christians, by viewing the first rider as antichrist, fear that the Tribulation has mainly to do with the antichrist, and I assure you, he is a part of it but not the main focus. The purpose of Revelation from the beginning to the end is: the triumph of the Lamb over this evil world and the establishing of His kingdom at the end of the Tribulation period.
The Time of Jacob's Trouble (the Tribulation) will cause the remnant in Israel to cry out to the Lord and He shall come to their rescue. (See Zechariah 12).
Now, when we read Revelation 6:2 in the Greek, we find that the first rider receives a "victor's crown." The Greek word for crown in this passage is "stephanos" and it means a "crown of victory." Now, if we back up into the messages to the Seven churches, we find the word, "stephanos" will be given to the Saints.
There are two Greek words for "crown" used in Revelation:
1) Stephanos - which is a victor's crown , also given to the Saints of God 2) Diadem - which is an earthly crown - the Beast of Revelation 13 wears diadems (not stephanos)
Now, with the understanding that the rider on the white horse is a Victor, receiving a victor's crown, we must understand that there's only ONE in all of the Bible who is the Victor, who won the victory and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. He is at the present time seated at the right hand of the Father, awaiting the day when His enemies are made His footstool. What is the purpose of the Book of Revelation? To show us how our Savior gains the victory over the kingdoms upon the earth. You see, the Lord Jesus-- the King of the Jews, is at this present time in exile, awaiting the day when "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
Speaking of Messiah's ascension into Heaven, Psalm 110:1 prophesied: The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. This Scripture will be fulfilled at the end of the Revelation.
So to understand that a "stephanos" is given to the First rider is to understand that there is no other victor in all of the Bible but Christ. That's the first problem with the "antichrist being the first rider." If we say that the antichrist has a victor's crown and will gain the victory, then what are we saying? That evil will prevail BUT...we know that evil will not prevail. No, the same rider who at first received the victor's crown, opening the Tribulation is the same One, who comes at the end of the Tribulation... wearing many diadems for He has conquered the worldly kingdoms (Rev.11:15). Christ is the First and the Last!
The Antichrist Comes From The Abyss
Another problem with the "antichrist rider" theory is that the antichrist is depicted coming from the abyss (hell's agenda.)
ON A WHITE HORSE
Another problem with their theory is that the color white is ALWAYS the symbol of purity in the book of Revelation. The Saints will wear white; the Lord Jesus will come upon a white horse-- accompanied with His Saints upon white horses.
White is the color for them who "are worthy." No evil is ever symbolized in white, no, not in the entire book of Revelation.
Fourth, the argument of many prophecy teachers is that "God is never depicted with a bow." The rider on the white horse has a bow with no arrows....so they presume and dogmatically teach that the rider "must be the antichrist." Just because "no arrows" are mentioned doesn't mean that there is not a stash of them behind his back. That is a very weak argument. They teach that, "The antichrist is coming with no arrows." Let's see what the Bible has to say, rather than assuming.
In the Psalms and elsewhere, it states that God has "arrows" and where there are arrows, there must be symbolically "a bow."
Psalm 45:5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
Psalm 144:6 Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.
Hab 3:11 The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.
CONQUERING AND TO CONQUER?
Now, let us examine the next part of the verse in Revelation 6:2: "and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."
The Greek, here, is saying something more, than what is translated in the English translation. Young's Literal translation says it this way:
"and he went forth overcoming, and that he may overcome."
The word translated, "conquer" is the Greek word "nikao" and it is translated elsewhere in the KJV as "overcome" or "overcomer."
From Strong's: G3529; to subdue (literally or figuratively): - conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.
The word is found 28 times in the New Testament. The verb "nikao" is used of overcoming an enemy in the temporal realm and overcoming Satan and his kingdom of darkness in the spiritual realm. The Lord Jesus uses it in Luke 11:22 and it means, â€œto overcome.â€�
Only once is nikao translated "conquer." Elsewhere it is translated as follows:
So just by the above verses, we see that "nikao" is only translated "conquer" in ONE verse. But if we piece Revelation 6:2 in harmony with the rest of the Bible, we have a different picture than what the prophecy experts are advocating in their many books and DVDs. You see, they want to introduce the antichrist in the beginning of the book of Revelation because it fits in with their "interpretation" but the problem is, the Bible should be read and rightly divided, not made to fit our theories or interpretation, but rather it stands alone by itself. So when we take the literal Greek, here is the verse in harmony with the rest of Scripture:
Rev 6:2 and I saw, and lo, a white horse, and he who is sitting upon it is having a bow, and there was given to him a victor's crown, and he went forth overcoming, and that he may overcome.
And this rider is, WITHOUT A DOUBT, the Lord Jesus Christ, who goes forth through the power of the Holy Spirit winning victory after victory. Remember, the plagues are sent from Heaven upon the earth. It is the "wrath of the Lamb." We know Jesus is the Victor of all things-- for at the end, when He returns to earth to destroy the "beast's government," He is wearing MANY crowns. This teaching is harmonious with the rest of the Book of Revelation. Christ is the First and the Last!
If anything, this proves to us once more not to rely so heavily upon "experts," who did not (in this case) rightly divide the Word of Truth. We also should beware of those who hide the meanings of certain Scriptures from their readers to "fit in" with their theories.
We believe that the antichrist [or even perhaps the false prophet] will confirm a covenant with many for one week (seven years). This is spoken of in the Book of Daniel but to say that antichrist represents the first seal negates the purpose of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The seals are broken in Heaven and only the Lord Jesus is worthy to open those seals. As a result of these first four seals, there is a great multitude of Tribulation Saints, who are slain for the word of their testimony. In other words, many will become Believers during the Tribulation period-- this necessitates the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in the earth. The Holy Spirit will not be taken out of the earth, as some teachers have said. There are many things going on in the first three-and one-half years. The preaching of the Two Witnesses in the streets of Jerusalem, which we believe to be Enoch and Elijah, and also then wars, famines, death. It is during times of hardship that people repent, not times of celebration. So when we understand the symbolic meaning of the rider on the white horse-- that He is a Victor, going forth into battle, we understand that the same Rider returns for the Final Battle, in Person, with His Saints.
For over 1700 years, the interpretation of Revelation 6:2 was always that the first rider of the Apocalypse is Jesus Christ. It was not until the late 1800's that the first rider changed to the antichrist. The Book of Revelation is not solely about the antichrist-- but rather the focus is upon the Lord Jesus Christ-- from the beginning to the end...Jesus is the VICTOR! That is why the "Left Behind" books are so grievous-- they divert the victory away from the Lamb and focus on the antichrist and the political beast. No, the Lord Jesus is the CENTER of Revelation-- He is the First and the Last!
Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome [nikao] them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Daniel 7:21-22 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
Now that we know the first rider is Jesus the Christ, how does this fit in with the whole seven year tribulation timeframe?
Commenting on Revelation 6:2, Dr. Henry M. Morris says the following:
At this tremendous moment in history, "the Son of God goes forth to war," as the Lamb breaks the First Seal. The seven seal judgments follow, then the seven trumpets , then the seven bowls. However the seventh seal includes all of the seven trumpets and the seventh trumpet leads into the seven bowls. The entire series thus represents the Lamb's successive forays into the invader's strongholds until finally the enemy is driven out completely. The climax comes at the battle of Armageddon, when the great Rider appears once again on His white horse to win the final victory (Revelation 19:11, 19).