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