The first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is the topic this week. We explain why believe the first seal of the seven-sealed scroll was opened by the Lamb (Jesus) shortly after the Resurrection, and we speculate that the the rider may be the ancient god known as Nergal in Babylon, Resheph in Canaan, and Apollo in Greece and Rome.
The Lamb opened one of the seals: The rider on the white horse. The Lamb exerted His authority in opening the first seals.
With the opening of the seals, the scene shift from heaven to events on earth. A pattern emerges, with a rider on a horse appearing as each of the first four seals is broken. (1)
The first to appear is a victorious rider on a white horse.
Some interpreters see “a white horse, and he that sat on it” as a reference to the conquering Christ, which is consistent with the overcomer theme. (2)
The identification of the rider seated on the white horse has given interpreters great difficulty.
The main difficulty is whether the rider on the white horse represents Christ and the victory of the gospel, or, is this representing the antichrist and the forces of evil!
There are some problems in identifying the rider on the white horse in ch 6 with Jesus Christ:
- Since the Lamb is the one opening the seals in heaven, he cannot also be one of the riders.
- Theologically, it would be inappropriate to have an angelic being, a creature, to be commanding Christ, the Creator to do things.
- Given the negativity associated with all the other riders, the white horse is best understood as the conquering beast, the evil ruler of the tribulation period as stated in Daniel 9:26-27. This must be interpreted as a wicked parody of Jesus. (2)
- To identify the rider on the white horse as any specific person is not in keeping with the interpretation of the other horses, which symbolize conditions and not individuals.
It is rather more likely that this rider, like the riders on the other three horses, is a symbol of the antichrist and and the forces of evil and destruction.
We must always never forget that the antichrist comes with a deceptive spirit, to the extent that the very elect would have been deceived but for the Holy Spirit who reveals all truth.
As we see in Matthew 24: 4-5 where Jesus warned us about deceptiveness: “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many”.
And remember too that Satan comes as an angel of light (2Cor. 11:14).
Jesus who is the rider on the white horse in Revelation 19: 11-16, is described as ‘Faithful and True’ who judges and makes war with justice. That can be contrasted with the rider on the white horse in chapter 6 who wage war simply for the sake of conquest.
We need to be completely guided and governed by the Spirit of Christ as we compare and contrast scripture. The symbolism of white throughout Revelation always being associated with Christ and righteousness. For example in chapters 1:14; 2:17; 3:4-5 and 1; 4:4 and more. (3)
And that is where deception comes in, because we must remember that you cannot have a false version if you don’t first have the genuine. They both look alike with the naked eye, but there are signs and features to differentiate the two.
Jesus Himself tells us that the first events mentioned are the rise of “false Christ’s and prophets” (Mtt 24:24).
It must be admitted that the identity of the rider on the white horse in chapter 6 is not a clear cut one. The evidence however, seems to stock in favour of the antichrist and his forces as an instrument of judgement, and the parallelism with the other three horses.
The most striking and poignant association of the rider on the white horse in chapter 6 with the antichrist is the relation with the other three horses as the Lamb opened the first seal.
The two videos above and below provide more information on the rider on the white horse.
1 NIV Bible Commentary
2 Moody Bible Commentary.
3 Africa Bible Commentary