A bow and a crown (Rev. 6:1-2)

Previously- A white horse and its rider (Rev. 6:1-2)

The scripture

Rev. 6:1 –Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and there was a white horse. The horseman on it had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out as a victor to conquer (HCSB).

Is there any significance to the bow this mysterious rider wields, or the crown he wears?

It’s interesting to note that this rider has a bow, but there is no mention of arrows. Could this be a symbol of political and economic power, or simply a form of sabre rattling that urges his enemies to make peace while there is still time? Those who say the rider is Christ think differently. Matthew Henry, for example, writes: “The convictions impressed by the word of God are sharp arrows, they reach at a distance; and, though the ministers of the word draw the bow at a venture, God can and will direct it to the joints of the harness. This bow, in the hand of Christ, abides in strength, and, like that of Jonathan, never returns empty” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, Re 6:1–2).

This rider wears a stephanos, the garland of a victor, in contrast to a diadema, the crown of a king. When Christ returns in Revelation 19 He wears many crowns (diademata) and is personally attended by the host of heaven. So once again it seems this rider is not the Lamb, but one who appears like him, riding the white horse of victory, wearing a victor’s crown, and with authority to conquer.

Warren Wiersbe puts it in perspective: “Certainly, there is a sense in which Jesus Christ is conquering today, as He releases people from the bondage of sin and Satan (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13). But this conquest began with His victory on the cross and certainly did not have to wait for the opening of a seal! We shall note later that the sequence of events in Revelation 6 closely parallels the sequence given by our Lord in His Olivet discourse; and the first item mentioned is the appearance of false Christs (Matt. 24:5)” (The Bible exposition commentary, Re 6:1).

Finally, John writes that a crown is “given to him.” But by whom?For those who say this rider is Jesus, the crown and corresponding authority no doubt would be given Him by God the Father. Futurists, who argue that the rider is the Antichrist, say Jesus has granted the “man of sin” (2 Thess. 3:3) this authority for a short time, or contend that the people of the earth, terrified by the political, economic and spiritual vacuum left in the wake of the rapture of the church, gladly defer to this emerging world leader. In any case, this rider is a conquering world figure, and whatever he does is either enabled or permitted by God.

Three other horsemen soon will appear, bringing war, famine and death to the earth. Together, these four horsemen of the apocalypse are instruments of judgment in the hands of Almighty God.

Next – The second seal (Rev. 6:3-4)


  1. rphilli

    Connie, thanks very much for your note. I love reading Matthew Henry’s commentary as well and believe he has marvelous insight into God’s Word. Many godly scholars disagree about certain passages of Scripture, especially when addressing apocalyptic or figurative language. That’s why it’s always good to consider a variety of commentators who nevertheless agree on the inspiration and authority of God’s Word. Blessings as you continue to study Revelation, as I continue to do.

  2. Connie Acker

    I usually study out of the Matthew Henry commentary but he said that the rider on the White Horse in Revelation 6:2 was Jesus Christ. How did he make such a mistake

  3. calvin


    Regarding the rider on the first white horse with bow and crown that went forth conquering, and to conquer. Rev 6:2.

    A conversation on this subject with an individual on a discussion board went as follows:
    George, I agree with your assessment that the rider on the first white horse had (and has) a direct association with promoting a false gospel. Romanism definitely does not teach unmerited grace. And yes, the papacy had (and has) power over kings that possess military strength, and the papacy did sponsor the crusades, and you are right about a pope crowning himself..
    There is no doubt that Romanism (particularly during the “Dark Ages”) went forth conquering and to conquer.

    As I had indicated in an earlier post, during the last days, “peace” is one of the papal weapons of deception … according to Daniel.

    Even though all these things you have said about the papacy are correct, every author that I have read (including yourself) are in error to associate the “bow” in this particular passage with violence or a “weapon”. The following comments are from my unpublished booklet:

    Futurists and those who look for a military type person as being “the” antichrist err in reasoning that this “bow” is a weapon.

    The New Testament never uses this word to mean a weapon. Of it’s five New Testament occurrences, four of them mean to bend or to “bow down”. That was pope John Paul II’s distinguishing trademark. Upon his arrival at the host country, he would “bow” to the ground and kiss it.

    The fifth and final occurrence of this word is found in the verse under discussion Rev 6:2 the rider with bow and crown. Oddly enough, its use in this particular verse means neither “weapon” … nor to “bow down”.

    This particular “bow” is from the Greek form meaning “cloth”. The word “crown” in this verse is from the Greek “stepho” meaning … to twine or wreathe. This rider is in some way associated with “cloth that is wreathed”.

    That is the perfect description of the papal “Triple Tiara” crown. It is unlike any of the solid gold or silver crowns of Europe, as it is weaved of “cloth of gold.”
    New Educator Encyclopaedia Vol 9 pg 3575.

    According to Vatican dogma, the pope’s three tiered crown signifies his authority in three realms:

    on earth
    in heaven
    in hell

    I believe the following passage is the connection to Vatican City’s three tiered crown.

    And the great city was divided into THREE PARTS and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Rev 16:19. I believe that some reading this may literally witness God’s total destruction of that great city … Vatican City … Mystery Babylon

    Regarding the rider on the first “white horse”.

    Consider the vision that John of Patmos was given. If he was shown a vision of the huge crowds and pomp and ceremony of pope John Paul’s arrival in the United States, bowing to the ground and kissing it, how might John describe the converted (always white) Ford Bronco that carried the pope on his tour of the

    Might John describe it as … seeing a rider on a “white horse”?

    John Paul II was one of the most charismatic and influential leaders of this century. The man who spearheaded the downfall of Communism … and all the world followed after the beast.

    Beast = primate. The pope is the Primate of Rome.

    Revelation 13’s two beasts. Strong’s concordance #2342 notes this as an animal, a wild beast. I found it interesting that the two forms that follow (#2343 and 2344) for beast have the meaning .… wealth, treasure, to amass or reserve, lay up treasure. The Vatican beast does that in spades.

    An interesting read on the wealth of the Vatican would be Avro Manhattan’s book the VATICAN BILLIONS

    Heaven and earth may pass away, but HIS WORD and HIS words do not.

    Where were our prophecy experts … our “watchmen on the wall” when this event came to pass?

    Pope John Paul was the first in the history of the papacy to take a “double name” Pope John Paul … lived for 33 days and died …some say murdered.

    Revelation speaks about an image (with eyes and a mouth) that is made of the previous beast that died by a mortal wound. John Paul dies but wonder of wonders, John Paul comes back to life in the form of John Paul II.

    Preterists look to the past … futurists look to the future … who was looking to the present?

    Historicists saw and understood prophecy being fulfilled.

    It was Sir Isaac Newton that said we were not to become prophets, but rather to recognize the event when it comes to pass. Preterism and Futurism failed the test.