Here we are in the sixth chapter of The Revelation. THIS is the point where the action really ramps up. This is also the point at which we will slow our journey to a snail’s pace. I’ll go ahead and warn you….we will be in the sixth chapter for about six weeks. There is simply too much material that I feel we need to cover well to rush through. I hope you will stay with me, stay engaged, and stay in prayer for wisdom and understanding. There are many opinions on the meanings of the events of chapters 6-22. Let’s be sure to give grace to those whose opinions differ from ours as we study the opening of the seals and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
We will begin by downloading and printing Lisa’s drawing of Revelation 6. Just a reminder…the downloads are free, even though you may get an error message asking you to create a payment method. Simply click through the error message and sign up for the download.
1 Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!”
2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
Jesus, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, has been found worthy to open the scroll, and open it He does. He takes the scroll from the hand of God, the Father, and cracks the first seal. Immediately John hears a voice that belongs to one of the four living creatures we met in chapter four. The creature shouts, “Come!”
Whooo—eeeee! There is no turning back now. The cracking open of the first seal has set in motion the events of the end times. One has to wonder if the living creatures had been banned from saying the word ‘come’ for all of history until now. When the first living creature shouts ‘Come’, John immediately sees a white horse. The opening of each of the first four seals will bring forth a horse, so let’s consider this first one today.
John saw a white horse with a rider. The rider had a bow and a crown. This rider had one purpose…to conquer.
Now would be a good time to ask a few questions like:
- Who is the rider of the horse?
- Why is the horse white?
- What is the significance of the bow and the crown?
- What or whom will be conquered by this rider?
- Have the events of verses 1 and 2 already taken place, or are they yet to take place?
There are differing schools of thought regarding the identity of the rider of the white horse. Some believe him to be Jesus. This line of thought does not make sense to me for a few reasons:
- Jesus has just opened the scroll in heaven.
- The bow that the rider carries has no arrows to accompany it, therefore it is useless. Jesus does not come to fight with a bow. When He comes He will fight with the Sword of his mouth.
- The crown the rider wears is the stephanos (Greek), the victor’s crown. Whenever the Scripture mentions Jesus’ crowns, it always speaks of the diadema (Greek), the kingly, or royal crown.
Another commentator believes that this rider on the white horse is not a specific person, but rather a force, or ideology. He asserts this rider to be false peace.
I tend to line up with the thinking that the rider on the white horse is ANTICHRIST. He gives the shadowy appearance of being like Christ, (Jesus rides a white horse in Revelation 19) yet he is definitely not Jesus because of the reasons I mentioned above. Additionally, God allows antichrist the latitude to conquer earth for a time through lies and deceit, but some day God will yank the leash of antichrist and he will be done.
As we go through our study of the seals, trumpets, and bowls, we will see that the opening/sounding/breaking of one often precipitates the next one. I believe that the opening of the first seal that releases the antichrist to conquer then leads to the events and happenings of seals two through four (peace is taken, famine, and death).
Has the first seal been broken yet?
It is certainly a question that begs an answer, and one could argue that it has. I would question the sanity of anyone who argued that Satan is not alive and well on planet earth. The Bible, yes, even the same apostle John who writes Revelation, makes it clear in 1 John 4:1-3 that the spirit of antichrist is already in the world. John also tells us that not only is antichrist coming, but many antichrists have already come in 1 John 2:18-19. The atrocities and moral declines that we have seen take place in our generation certainly point to a furthering of antichrist’s agenda.
I believe that God has had an antichrist waiting in every generation…waiting for the moment when God decrees that enough is enough and He looks at His Son and says, “Go, get my children!” When that happens God will loose antichrist to accomplish his evil purposes in the latter half of the seven years of tribulation.
Hold on tightly, people. The ride is going to get bumpy from here on out in Revelation until Jesus reigns, but God has given us this marvelous book so we can know and be prepared for whatever comes. Now, let’s engage.
- Is there anything from today’s study that challenged your faith?
- Do you have thoughts to offer about the identity of the rider on the white horse?
- What do you think…has the first seal already been broken?