Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The White Horse of Revelation 6!
What does the White Horse of Revelation 6:2 symbolize? Can it refer to false religion as some churches believe? What about the crown on the rider's head? Does the bow he carries have any significance? Read about the fiery witness the White Horse of Revelation 6:2 is about to carry out and the persecution that will follow!
by John D. Keyser
"Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked and behold, a WHITE HORSE. And he who sat on it had a BOW; and a CROWN was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer" (Revelation 6:1-2).
The book of Revelation is of great importance in that it provides spiritual strength and insight for YEHOVAH’s people. It highlights YEHOVAH’s interest in the church (ecclesia) of His people and the close and loving care that Yeshua the Messiah exercises toward them as the Shepherd of Israel. Yeshua knows exactly what conditions prevail and what must be done. This is especially manifest in the first three chapters of the book.
Some people view Revelation as being so highly symbolic that it cannot be understood -- or they take little care in interpreting it to come up with fantastic and erroneous results. But YEHOVAH God wants His people Israel to understand, and He caused the Bible to be written to be understood and to provide guidance for them. The KEY to understanding Revelation is the same as the key to understanding other parts of the Bible -- YOU MUST USE THE BIBLE TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE! If we search the Scriptures we will find in them the things used as symbolisms in Revelation. By comparing these Scripture texts we can understand what the Revelation symbols mean.
The apostle John was steeped in the Old Testament and draws on the rich evocative imagery of the prophets. He knew -- as certainly as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel knew -- that what he wrote was directly given him by YEHOVAH God and stamped with His authority. So with this mind, let us delve into one of the most mysterious and awesome subjects of the book of Revelation -- the White Horse of Revelation 6!
The Horse as a Bible Symbol
To correctly understand this portion of the book of Revelation, we need to learn the significance of the horse as a Biblical symbol. For this information we must turn to the Old Testament; for the horse is not mentioned in the New -- except in Revelation.
A study of the Old Testament will show that the horse is first of all the symbol of strength, might, or force of a certain kind for conquest and for progress. Characterized as he is by strength combined with speed and fearlessness, the horse aptly symbolizes that form of spiritual vitality and power that sustains, energizes and carries forward -- despite all that opposes it. It represents a GREAT SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT, whether good or evil. The horse especially typifies strength and courage for conflict.
We should especially notice YEHOVAH God’s own description of the characteristics with which He endowed the horse. Addressing Job, He said:
"Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder? Can you frighten him like a locust? His majestic snorting strikes terror. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he gallops into the clash of arms. He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; nor does he turn back from the sword" (Job 39:19-22).
Here YEHOVAH holds the horse up to admiration because of his strength, his utter fearlessness, and his refusal to be turned back by any form of danger. YEHOVAH further speaks of his irresistible determination and power to advance in the face of armed resistance:
"He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; nor does he stand firm, because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, “Aha!” He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of captains and shouting" (Job 39: 24-25).
The symbol of the horse and rider is as old as Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:17:
“Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider shall fall backward.”
The same figure, in a similar sense, is found in the Song of Moses when the children of Israel reached the far side of the Red Sea:
“Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to YEHOVAH, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!’” (Exodus 15:1).
From this we get the distinct idea that the horse represents the progress of some great enterprise backed by strong military power. Therefore, anything that is pictured in the Bible as being carried forward by a horse is a movement that is sustained by mighty power -- one that advances into conflict against the opposing forces with fearlessness and with prospects of success.
Other passages in the Bible reinforce this concept. Notice Isaiah 31:1 (note the words, “rely on horses...because they are very strong”); Jeremiah 4:13 (”His horses are swifter than eagles”); Jeremiah 12:5 (”how can you contend with horses?”); Hosea 14:3 (”We will not ride on horses”) and Psalm 33:17 (”Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength”).
When we take into consideration the significance of the horse as a Biblical symbol -- as well as other factors -- it becomes apparent that the Red Horse of Revelation 6, and its rider, presents a prophetic picture of the results of the MIGHTY SPIRITUAL INFLUENCES, agencies or powers, which were to arise and go forth to the twelve tribes of Israel in dispersion at the beginning of the “Christian Era” -- and which were to impart to that era those special characteristics whereby it is set apart from all previous periods in the history of YEHOVAH's people Israel.
That our era is clearly set apart from the eras that preceded it, that it has various characteristics which are all its own, and that its most distinctive features are due entirely to influences which came into being at -- and immediately after -- the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, are FACTS that cannot be denied! By common acclamation this age is known as the “Christian Era” and its civilization is commonly termed “Christian Civilization.” Throughout the world its system of reckoning time has the date (although incorrect) of the birth of the Messiah for its starting-point. As a result, all men throughout the civilized world render -- whether Christian or not -- involuntary recognition to Yeshua the Messiah. They acknowledge (even though it is most repugnant to them to do so) that YEHOVAH God’s doctrine has been the leading factor in shaping the course of human affairs for the last almost 2,000 years, and that the birth of the Messiah into this world was the beginning of an entirely new order of things among men.
In retrospect, we cannot fail to observe that the spiritual powers or agencies which have had the chief part in shaping the course of the affairs of YEHOVAH's people Israel from the dawn of this era until now, have been FOUR in number. Not only that, but a careful examination of these powers or agencies show that they correspond respectively -- and in the precise order in which they arose -- to the symbolical representations of the four horses and their riders in the book of Revelation. The resemblance is so clear in each case that it is readily seen when pointed out -- and no twisting or manipulation of the meaning of the symbols is needed to produce the true explanation as YEHOVAH God intended.
This unique correspondence between the broad characteristic marks of the Christian Era and the symbolical scenarios shown under the first four seals of Revelation is, in itself, STRONG PROOF of the correctness of the interpretation. The agreement is too complete -- and it extends to too many details -- to be attributed to mere chance.
The visions of these four seals represent the going forth of mighty powers YEHOVAH God has used to shape the course of affairs throughout the entire age. They are to reach the very height of their activities in the closing days of this era, and show to us that the end is near -- even at the door!
The White Horse
The main identifying symbols of the White Horse are (1) the color of the horse, white; (2) the crown; (3) the bow; and (4) the fact that the rider went forth conquering (gaining victories from the start) and ultimately "to conquer" (i.e., to finally triumph over all enemies). These four symbols are more than adequate to make a certain identification -- particularly as there is but ONE event or epoch in the history of the world that accurately fits the comments that John makes about this horse and rider. And what is that identification? It is the going forth of the Gospel of the Messiah in the power of YEHOVAH's holy spirit! Nothing else in the past -- and nothing that has been revealed about the future -- can be made to harmonize with this scene, or with these symbols Only the sending forth of the Gospel of the Messiah (which is the power of YEHOVAH God unto salvation) perfectly fits the scene, and perfectly explains the symbols without any manipulation whatsoever.
Over the centuries the enigmatic "four horsemen of the Apocalypse" have excited and puzzled students of the Bible, causing much debate and controversy over their meaning. Different religious groups have their own interpretation, dependent upon their understanding of scripture; and this has been a continuing phenomenon down through the corridors of time since the apostle John first wrote the visions down. One horse in particular -- the WHITE HORSE -- has been at the center of this controversy. No one, it seems, has been able to correctly discern the exciting TRUTH about this horse!
For example the Medieval commentator Erbes asserted that the rider of the White Horse was the Parthian king Vologases who, in 62 A.D., forced a Roman army to capitulate.
The German scholar Hermann Gunkel (1862-1932) was of the opinion that this first horseman was ORIGINALLY A SUN-GOD: "His horse is white (as in the white horse of the divine slayer of the dragon; the white horse of Mithras in the Avesta...)" (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St. John, by R. H. Charles).
The same volume states that "...according to Weiss...the victorious Rider [of the White Horse] REPRESENTS THE VICTORIOUS COURSE OF THE GOSPEL, which must be preached to all nations before the woes come."
Another viewpoint is stated by R. H. Charles: "A great number of interpreters -- Victorinus, Primasius, Bede, Bullinger, Paraeus, Grotius, Vitringa, Dusterdieck...have identified the first horseman with the rider on the white horse in 19:11 sqq., i.e. The Messiah." (Ibid).
Henry Barclay Swete, in his book The Apocalypse of St. John, says:
"In the first vision the horse is white, the rider carries a bow and receives a conqueror's crown; he goes forth, it is noted, as a conqueror, and with the purpose of winning fresh conquests. It is tempting to identify him with the Rider on the white horse in XIX.11, whose name is 'the Word of God'...But the two riders have nothing in common beyond the white horse...Rather we have here a picture of TRIUMPHANT MILITARISM."
Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia has yet another version:
"In the sixth chapter of his apocalyptic vision of God's purpose in the world, Saint John the Divine describes four horses, signifying respectively war (a red horse), CIVIL STRIFE (a white horse), hunger (a black horse), and death (a pale horse). The horses and their riders are frequently depicted in art and have come to be a symbol of the evils of the earthly world."
Last, but certainly not all of the interpretations available, is that claimed by the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong:
"The first [seal] was a white horse. Many men, using human interpretation, have looked over into the 19th chapter of Revelation, where we find the description of the glorious return of Christ pictured as coming on a white horse, and have made the great error of deciding that this first seal, then, since it is a white horse, pictures the second coming of Christ. But Christ's own revealing of the meaning is that THIS WHITE HORSE OF THE FIRST SEAL PICTURES EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE -- THOSE PREACHING A FALSE CHRIST, different from the Christ of the New Testament! It refers to this great deception that has descended like a dark cloud to cover the earth and hide from it the glorious truth of God!" (The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last!, p. 22-23).
Those who say that the White Horse and rider are a symbol of those preaching a false Messiah -- or antichrist, if you will -- are completely reversing the meaning of the symbol as evoked by John under the influence of YEHOVAH's holy spirit! They surely must realize that the color of the horse totally contradicts their erroneous interpretation! They claim, with no convincing proof whatsoever to support it, that the antichrist appears on a white horse in imitation of the Messiah!
One Gary Goodworth writes, "My personal belief in what the rider on the white horse represents is both the Catholic Church (because I believe the coming false prophet who works with the coming Antichrist will be a Pope) and the coming Antichrist. There is no question this prophecy relates to some aspect of the Roman Empire. Whether the rider on the white horse is the coming Antichrist, the religious system known as Catholicism, or just the Roman Empire itself, it is God who is calling the shots here and this rider is released to prepare the world for the return of Jesus Christ" (Internet).
Dispensationalism or futurism believes that the one on the White Horse -- and armed with a bow -- is none other than the Antichrist himself. The rationale behind this is that the opening of the first seal represents the beginning of twenty-one judgments that will occur in a seven-year time period known as the tribulation. This verse is not the only reason that some students of bible prophecy believe this could be the Antichrist. There are several other verses in scripture that clearly talk about a man whom the world will believe is Christ or the Messiah but will find out that he is really Antichrist. This coming Antichrist is to supposedly arise out of the Roman Empire so it makes sense for many to improperly conclude that the rider on the first White Horse is somehow connected to Rome.
But what if the seven seal judgments are not confined to a seven year tribulation period? What if they have a longer fulfillment? What if this rider on the White Horse represents a system instead of the antichrist? This verse could have both a historical application and a future application.
Instead of stumbling from one interpretation to another in utter confusion, let us look more closely at this horse and rider of Revelation 6:2. Let us determine, then, using the Word of YEHOVAH God as a guide, the TRUTH about this age-old enigma!
The Color White
Revelation 6:2 and 19:11 both state that their respective horses are WHITE in color. What does the color white represent? A Dictionary of the Bible, by James Hastings, makes this very clear:
"In the NT white is used of natural objects and of linen, but chiefly as the SYMBOL OF PURITY or INNOCENCE and HOLINESS, as if the Transfiguration, or of ANGELS John 20:12, etc., the SAINTS Rev. 6:11, or THE THRONE OF GOD Rev. 20:11, or of victory Rev. 6:2, 19:11, 14."
The Bible dictionary, Insight On the Scriptures, published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of New York, makes this comment:
"White is the color most often mentioned in the Scriptures. Besides its descriptive use, it also serves as a SYMBOL OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SPIRITUAL CLEANNESS. (Rev. 3:4; 7:9, 13, 14). The white horse, as portrayed at Revelation 6:2 and 19:11, SYMBOLIZES CLEAN, RIGHTEOUS WARFARE UNDER JESUS CHRIST'S DIRECTION" (1988. Volume 1, "Colors" p. 488-489).
Notes Philip Mauro in Things Which Soon Must Come to Pass --
"The color of the horse, white, bears strong testimony to the same effect; for, as we have already pointed out, this color is a in every instance throughout the Book [the Bible] (unless this be an exception) used to designate things peculiarly divine; and there is not the slightest imaginable reason for assuming that we have an exception here, and an exception so great as (according to the futurist view) to reverse the meaning of the symbol" (G. A. M. Publications, Sterling, VA. 1990, p. 193).
Let us now turn to YEHOVAH's Word and see how the Bible interprets its own symbols. In Revelation 19:8 we find the following definition: "She is permitted to wear the cleanest and WHITEST and finest of linens. (Fine linen represents the good deeds done by the people of God.)"
The Greek word for LINEN in this verse is translated by the Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament, by John Dawson, in the following manner: "Made of the finest and WHITEST cotton." The word WHITEST in this verse comes from a Greek word that means "shining, resplendent, bright, dazzling, WHITE." Here we can see that the word "white", in this verse, is doubly stressed in the original Greek.
White -- The High Priest's Garments
We know by the Scriptures that the Old Testament High Priests were a figure of our High Priest, Yeshua the Messiah: "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus" (Hebrews 3:1). The Messiah is a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (called by YEHOVAH God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" -- Hebrews 5:10) and not a High Priest after the order of Aaron. However, the High Priesthood after the order of Aaron gives types and shadows of the High Priesthood of the Messiah.
The garments of the Old Testament high priests point to the righteousness of Yeshua the Messiah:
"You shall skillfully weave the tunic of FINE LINEN thread, you shall make the turban of FINE LINEN, and you shall make the sash of woven work" (Exodus 28:39).
"And you shall make for them LINEN trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs" (Exodus 28:42).
The phrase "fine linen" denotes Egyptian linen of peculiar whiteness and fineness.
Furthermore, we get word picture glimpses of the complete righteousness of the Messiah in the New Testament when his garments become "exceedingly white" --
"Now afrer six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, EXCEEDINGLY WHITE, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them" (Mark 9:2-3).
When the Messiah was put to death, Joseph of Arimathea made sure that the body was wrapped in white linen:
"This man [Joseph] went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean LINEN cloth, and laid it in his new tomb..." (Matthew 27:58-60).
The garments of the High Priest and his sons were made of fine linen. This white linen is symbolic of the imputed righteousness that we receive by the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah. These garments covered the nakedness of both Aaron and his sons. As such, they are typical of the righteous covering of the imputed righteousness of the Messiah who has covered the shame of our sin: "For He [YEHOVAH God] made him [the Messiah] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When the Children of Israel murmured against YEHOVAH God in the wilderness because they had nothing to eat or to drink, YEHOVAH God gave them bread that they called "manna." This manna is described to us in Exodus 16:31: "And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like WHITE coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey." Each morning for the first six days of each week, the children of Israel gathered manna for their daily food. On the sixth day, they gathered enough for two days so that they didn't have to gather it on the Sabbath day.
In many ways this manna was spiritually comparable to what we find in the Bible -- notice!
"So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Moreover the Scriptures are, according to the words of the Messiah, a testimony of him: "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). Like the Scriptures, the manna in the wilderness was a testimony of the Messiah.
The Messiah compared the manna in the wilderness to himself in John 6:31-35: "Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He [YEHOVAH God] gave them bread from heaven to eat.' Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' Then they said to him, 'Lord, give us this bread always.' And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."
Since the Messiah is the bread of life to his fellow Israelites, the WHITE color of the manna testifies of the righteousness of the Messiah. In typical fashion, the Children of Israel were eating of that bread of life that is altogether righteous. The Messiah is the Righteous One and through his righteousness we are made righteous.
It is therefore very obvious that the White Horse of Revelation 6:2 CANNOT refer to false religion or to civil strife! Equating this horse with false religion or civil strife is at odds with ALL interpretations of the word "white" in the Bible! Here are some more examples:
2 Chronicles 5:12: "...and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar [in the Temple], CLOTHED IN WHITE LINEN..."
Ecclesiastes 9:7-8: "For God has already accepted your works. Let your garments always be WHITE, and let your head lack no oil."
Isaiah 1:18-19: "'Come now, and let us reason together', says the LORD, 'though your sins are like scarlet, THEY SHALL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW...if you are willing and obedient...'"
Daniel 7:9: "I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days [YEHOVAH God] was seated; HIS GARMENT WAS AS WHITE AS SNOW, and the hair of His head was like pure wool."
Daniel 12:10: "MANY SHALL BE PURIFIED, MADE WHITE, and REFINED, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand."
Matthew 28:2-3: "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the LORD came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolling back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and HIS CLOTHES WERE WHITE AS SNOW."
Luke 9:29: "And as he [the Messiah] prayed, the appearance of his face was altered, and HIS ROBE BECAME WHITE AND GLISTENING."
John 20:12: "And she [Mary] saw TWO ANGELS IN WHITE sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain."
Revelation 7:14: "And I said to him, 'Sir, you know.' So he said to me, 'These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them WHITE in the blood of the Lamb.'"
We find in Matthew 23:27 that Yeshua the Messiah likened the scribes and Pharisees to WHITEWASHED graves. He drew this illustration from the custom of whitewashing graves in the vicinity of Jerusalem before the Passover to PROTECT VISITORS FROM BECOMING UNCLEAN by touching them during the celebrations.
Concludes Philip Mauro --
"Those who make the white horse rider a symbol of the antichrist [or of false religion] of the last days, thereby reversing the meaning of the symbol which the Holy Spirit has here employed, realize of course, that the color of the horse contradicts their interpretation. Hence they must needs resort to some expedient to meet the difficulty; and the expedient they have chosen is surely a curious one. They say (though with no proof at all to support it) that antichrist appears on a white horse in imitation of Christ" (Things Which Soon Must Come to Pass, pps. 193-194).
The Two White Horses
At this point in our study we can see no difference between the White Horse of Revelation 6:2 and the white horse of Revelation 19:11, so let us examine these horses, and their riders, in more detail. Revelation 19:11 states:
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a WHITE HORSE whose rider is called FAITHFUL AND TRUE. With justice he judges and MAKES WAR. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are MANY CROWNS [diadems]...He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood and his name is THE WORD OF GOD...Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
We can see here that the rider on this horse wields a sword out of his mouth, whereas the horseman of Revelation 6 carries a bow in his hand. Also, this KING of Revelation 19:11 is wearing multiple DIADEMS (indicating a KING over many kings), in contrast to Revelation 6 where the rider wears the WREATH OF A WARRIOR. The phrases "the WORD of God" and "KING of kings and LORD of lords" show that the rider of the horse in Revelation 19 is YEHOVAH God HIMSELF, and taking this passage in context proves that the rider of the horse of Revelation 19:11 is YEHOVAH God the Father returning to this earth in splendor to rule from His throne in Jerusalem. For more information read our article, The Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
Returning to the White Horse of Revelation 6:2, we see a different picture. Nothing is said about the rider except that he carries a BOW and was given a CROWN.
Since Revelation 19:11 pictures the return of YEHOVAH God the Father, it is obvious this EARLIER scripture (Revelation 6:2) cannot symbolize the same event. The Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St. John, by R. H. Charles, puts it this way: "But the Messiah cannot appear before the Messianic woes [the 7th seal]; nor can he be at once the Lamb who opens the Seals, and the Rider who appears in consequence of such opening...In fact the two Riders have nothing in common but the white horse."
The White Horseman in Revelation 6 is the HARBINGER of a series of calamitous events that lead up to the return of the Messiah and YEHOVAH God!
We now know that this particular White Horse -- with its rider (Revelation 6:2) -- CANNOT refer to the Messiah himself, because the Messiah does not return to this earth until several chapters later -- Revelation 10. Were the Messiah to return on this horse he would PRECEDE the troubled time period in world history that leads up to his own return! The Messiah will not return until AFTER this time! Therefore, since the horse is WHITE, it must REPRESENT ONE COMING IN THE NAME OF THE MESSIAH TO DO THE WORK OF THE MESSIAH!
The Wreath of a Warrior
According to the apostle John, the rider of this White Horse in Revelation 6:2 was given a CROWN. In the original Greek the word for CROWN in this verse is "STEPHA.NOS."
What does this CROWN signify?
In the New Testament two Greek words are used for the English word "crown." These are "STEPHA.NOS" and "DI.ADEMA." The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, edited by Merill C. Tenney, makes this observation:
"In the N.T. (Gr., stepha.nos and di.adema are used). The first refers to a garland or chaplet such as was worn by a victorious athlete. This type of crown is employed figuratively by Paul and John as A SYMBOL OF CHRISTIAN TRIUMPH (II Tim. 4:8, Rev. 2:10). The diadem was a SYMBOL of the power TO RULE."
In the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, by James Hastings, we read the following:
"In the NT the victor's crown at the games (stepha.nos) is USED SYMBOLICALLY OF THE REWARD OF A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN COURSE, the incorruptible 'stepha.nos' being contrasted with the corruptible (I Cor. 9:25; cf. II Tim. 2:5).
"It is a 'CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS' (II Tim. 4:8), the 'IMMORTAL CROWN OF GLORY,' the 'CROWN OF LIFE' (Ja. 1:12, Rev. 2:10; cf 3:11). Hence in visions of heaven the crowns are prominent. The elders in Rev. 4:4 wear crowns (STEPHA.NOS) of gold; in the Ascension of Isaiah the prophet sees crowns laid up in the highest heaven for the saints; in 'Barlaam and Josaphat,' Josaphat sees the people of the heavenly city with crowns in their hands (J. F. Boissonade Arec. Groeca, Paris, 1829-31, iv. 360)...
"The wearing of garlands and crowns on earth being obnoxious to the early Christians on account of PAGAN ASSOCIATIONS, stress was therefore laid on the worth of the SYMBOLIC HEAVENLY GARLAND (STEPHA.NOS), and especially the immortal crown of martyrdom (Mart. of St. Polycarp, 17; Tert. de Cor. 15, 'Why do you condemn to a little chaplet, or a twined headband [stepha.nos], the brow destined for a DIADEM?'). Lactantius (de Mort. Pers. 16) describes the martyr's garland of victory as 'AN UNFADING CROWN LAID UP IN THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD.'"
This same understanding is found in A Dictionary of the Bible, by James Hastings. He clearly shows the distinction between the two types of crowns:
"In NT the AV gives 'crown' for two words ('stepha.nos' and 'di.adema') which RV properly distinguishes. 'Stepha.nos' was NOT applied by the Greeks to a king's crown...but NEVER, any more than 'corona' in Latin, the emblem and sign of royalty...The word for the latter was 'di.adema.' This distinction is observed in NT though not always in the LXX."
The Eerdman's Bible Dictionary, edited by Allen C. Myers, also comments:
"Also in Revelation Gk. 'diadema' indicates a royal crown, worn by the dragon (12:3, UNLIKE the crown worn by the woman with child mentioned at V.1), the beast (13:1), and the rider of the white horse (19:12) who has many diadems because of his authority over all kings."
The Insight On the Scriptures talks, in detail, about the DIADEM:
"In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the Greek word di.adema (meaning 'something bound about the head') is rendered 'diadem' by modern translations. The 'great fiery-colored dragon' (Satan the Devil) has a diadem upon each of its seven heads. (Rev. 12:3, 9) A diadem adorns each of the ten horns of the symbolic seven-headed 'wild beast' that ascends out of the 'sea'. (Rev. 13:1) The one called Faithful and True, namely, Jesus Christ [actually YEHOVAH God -- NOT the Messiah!], likewise has upon his head 'many diadems,' his being from Jehovah, the rightful source of authority and power. (Rev. 19:11-13; 12:5, 10) Also at Revelation 6:2 and 14:14-16 Jesus Christ is pictured as wearing a crown (stepha.nos)" (1988. Vol. 1, "Crown" p. 554).
The Commentary on the holy Scriptures, by John Peter Lange, makes a very interesting observation: "Dusterdieck maintains that 'stepha.nos' here [Revelation 6:2] (as I Cor. IX.25) denotes ONLY the 'WREATH' OF A WARRIOR -- NOT the 'crown' of a king."
Now, if the White Horse of Revelation 6:2 is part and parcel of the other three horses who were given POWER over a fourth of the earth (Revelation 6:2), then the rider of this horse would be wearing a "diadem" instead of a crown (stepha.nos)! Rather, we find this rider wearing the CROWN (STEPHA.NOS) "OF CHRISTIAN TRIUMPH."
With the same thought in mind, it seems obvious that if the White Horse of Revelation 6:2 symbolizes false religion, civil strife or triumphant militarism, then the rider would be wearing the DIADEM (DI.ADEMA) OF POWER AND RULERSHIP!
Here are a few examples from the Bible that CLEARLY define the crown (stepha.nos):
I Thessalonians 2:19: "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown [stepha.nos] in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy."
II Timothy 4:8: "Now there is in store for me the crown [stepha.nos] of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day -- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
James 1:12: "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown [stepha.nos] of life that God has promised to those who love him."
Revelation 4:4: "Surrounding the throne were 24 other thrones, and seated on them were 24 elders. They were dressed in WHITE and had crowns [stepha.nos] of gold on their heads."
Notice in this last example that the crowns are mentioned along with the WHITE clothes or robes!
The Bow That Wins the Battle
If we look closely at the rider of Revelation 6:2 again, we will see that he is holding a BOW. What does this BOW represent? According to Philip Mauro,
"...the bow is a symbol of that which discharges the messages of God towards the mark they are intended to reach. In other words, it symbolizes the preaching of the gospel in general, and the individual gospel preacher in particular" (Things Which Soon Must Come to Pass, p. 195).
Continuing, Mauro further reveals the meaning of the bow the horseman of Revelation 6:2 carries --
"But again in respect to the symbol of the bow, as in the case of the white horse, we have something more definite than general principles to guide us to the right conclusion. For in Habakkuk's prophecy is a highly figurative passage in which the prophet sees a vision, and in describing it he speaks of the LORD as riding upon horses and chariots of salvation. In that connection he says: 'Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even Thy Word....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....Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, even for salvation with Thine anointed. Thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked' etc. (Hab. 3:8-13; cf. Ps. 110:6). From this Scripture we have ample warrant for regarding the bow as a symbol of God's Word in the day when He goes forth into all the world for the 'salvation' of men" (Things Which Soon Must Come to Pass, pps. 195-196).
According to most commentators the bow implies victory, signifying JUDGMENTS laid up in store against offenders. If we go to the Book of Zechariah we will find the bow defined as follows:
"For the LORD of Hosts has arrived to help His flock of Judah. I will make them strong and glorious like a proud steed in battle. From them will come the Cornerstone, the Peg on which all hope hangs, the BOW THAT WINS THE BATTLE, the Ruler over all the earth" (10:3-4).
Here we find that YEHOVAH God the Father is called THE BOW THAT WINS THE BATTLE! If we go to Zechariah 9:13 we will discover another interesting definition:
"JUDAH YOU ARE MY BOW! EPHRAIM YOU ARE MY ARROW! Both of you will be My sword, like the sword of a mighty soldier brandished against the sons of Greece."
This definition is quite fascinating in light of one of the responsibilities that the White Horseman of Revelation 6:2 is charged with. This we will discuss later.
The fact that the rider of the White Horse is armed with a BOW suggests that he will play the role performed by King Cyrus the Great of the ancient Persian Empire, who captured the city of Babylon in 539 B.C. History shows that the Persian kings rode WHITE HORSES and were EXPERT WITH THE BOW. It was largely by use of the bow that the Persians overcame Babylon and established themselves as a world power. Isaiah 44 and 45 indicate that Cyrus was CHOSEN BY YEHOVAH GOD to bring down Babylon, and, according to Ezra, he was used by YEHOVAH God to REBUILD THE TEMPLE in Jerusalem! Here we see that King Cyrus on his white horse is a TYPE of the horseman of Revelation 6:2!
It is now becoming clearer and clearer that this horseman symbolizes the TRUTH OF YEHOVAH GOD going out with POWER down through the centuries to the descendants of Israel!
A Polished Shaft
We have just discussed the bow this warrior carries -- now we will consider the ARROWS that this weapon delivers. A Dictionary of the Bible, by James Hastings, has this to say:
"Owing to the suddenness with which the arrow inflicted wounds, and to the fact that such wounds often came from an unseen hand, the arrow was used as a SYMBOL OF THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD...Arrows are also a SYMBOL of that which is carefully guarded and highly valued; thus, Israel itself is God's polished arrow, 'he hath made me a polished arrow, in his quiver hath he kept me close'" (Isaiah 49:2 RV).
M'Clintoch and Strong, in their Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, bring out this amazing definition of the ARROW: "The arrow is also used in a good sense to denote the EFFICIENCY and IRRESISTIBLE ENERGY OF THE WORD OF GOD IN THE HANDS OF THE MESSIAH (Psa. XLV, 5; Isa. XLIV, 5; comp. Lowth's note thereon)."
For a Biblical definition of the arrow we find, in 2 Kings 13:17, the following:
"Then he [Elisha] said: 'Open the window to the east.' So he [the king of Israel] opened it. Finally Elisha said: 'Shoot!' So he shot. He now said: 'JEHOVAH'S ARROW OF SALVATION, even the ARROW OF SALVATION against Syria! And you will certainly strike down Syria at Aphek to the finishing point.'"
Writes Philip Mauro --
"Thus the Scriptures do (figuratively speaking) put a bow and ARROWS into the hands of Christ and send him forth on a white horse, in the "day of salvation." Whereas the Scriptures say not a word of any antichrist's going forth on a white horse (or any other), or of his carrying a bow. And inasmuch as we can interpret Scripture only by Scripture, we have in this case no choice but either to be guided by Scripture, and take this passage as referring to Christ in the gospel, or else to abandon Scripture entirely, in which case we are free to assign it to any character we please, whether real or imaginary" (Things Which Soon Must Come to Pass, p. 197).
So, once again, we see that the White Horseman of Revelation 6:2 represents the TRUTH OF YEHOVAH GOD GOING OUT down through the centuries and just prior to the return of the Messiah and YEHOVAH God. Whatever part of the horse and rider we examine, we come right back to the SAME conclusion!
I think you realize by now that this horse and rider can ONLY symbolize a man coming in the name of the Messiah to do the work of the Messiah! He will prepare the way for the RETURN of YEHOVAH God! The parallel is inescapable -- the horse and rider of Revelation 6:2 are PREPARING THE WAY for the horse and Rider of Revelation 19 -- YEHOVAH GOD THE FATHER!
The Elijah to Come
During the traditional Seder or Passover service, the Jews have long set aside a cup of wine for the returning Elijah to drink. They believe that he will appear at Passover time to begin his work of preparing the way for the coming Messiah. Elijah's return is to mark the advent of an age of harmony, peace and understanding among all peoples and all nations -- in other words, the MILLENNIUM!
Elijah was a prophet sent to the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahab. Elijah's ministry was one of showing to Israel that the Eternal was the true God and that they were following a FALSE RELIGION. It was Elijah's purpose to show the people of Israel who YEHOVAH God really was, and he attempted to turn their hearts back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In Malachi 4:4-6 we read:
"Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD [YEHOVAH God]. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
YEHOVAH God, in His infinite mercy, is going to send a PROPHET to WARN OUR PEOPLES and turn them back to the Eternal before He sends His judgments upon the earth. This is why the WHITE HORSEMAN of Revelation 6:2 rides out before the other three!
This man -- whom YEHOVAH is sending -- will have the SPIRIT OF ELIJAH. John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy for Judah, and prepared a people to receive the Messiah at his first appearance. The prophet yet to come in the spirit of Elijah will witness to ALL ISRAEL -- the United Kingdom, U.S., and the democracies of Northwestern Europe -- before the Messiah and YEHOVAH God return. A GREAT MANY PEOPLE will come into the truth during the end-time tribulation (Revelation 7:9), and will be victorious over the beast and the false prophet.
The prophet who is coming in the spirit of Elijah before the Day of the LORD, will attempt to turn the people of our nations back to the true God -- just as Elijah and John the Baptist did. The TRUE GOSPEL of Yeshua the Messiah will be preached to the people of Israel through this man's ministry. Many will perceive the truth about the Messiah and REPENT before YEHOVAH God their Father. The TRUE Yeshua the Messiah will be preached at that time and not the FALSE, IMITATION CHRIST preached today! This is pictured in Revelation 6:1-2 by the WHITE HORSE AND ITS RIDER:
"I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a WHITE HORSE. Its rider held a BOW, and he was given a CROWN, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest."
As we have seen, this servant of YEHOVAH God will ride out with the word of YEHOVAH God; and with his BOW that wins the battle and his ARROWS of salvation, will MAKE WAR against false religion and start the process of gathering Israel to the Eternal.
When the White Horse Rides!
Both the Old and New Testaments are liberally sprinkled with prophecies foretelling the time when the White Horse and rider gallops forth on its preordained mission of WARNING AND WITNESS.
On the Mount of Olives, outside of Jerusalem, the disciples approached the Messiah and asked him what the SIGN of his coming and the end of the age would be. His answer pinpointed the time:
"...be on your guard against men; they will HAND YOU OVER to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles...Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will HATE YOU because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. WHEN YOU ARE PERSECUTED in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will NOT finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes" (Matthew 10:16-23).
The Son of Man (the Messiah) did not return during the lifetime of the early disciples, so these verses refer to a FUTURE FULFILLMENT.
The SECOND thing the Messiah mentioned on the Mount of Olives was a great "falling away." This is recorded by Paul in I Timothy 4: "The spirit clearly says that in LATER TIMES some will ABANDON the faith and follow DECEIVING SPIRITS and things taught by DEMONS." (Verse 1).
In the first part of chapter 65, the prophet Isaiah bemoans the fact that our peoples today think they know MORE than their very own Creator, and therefore have no need of His presence in their lives. Notice!
"I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, 'HERE I AM, HERE I AM,' to a nation that was not called by My name. I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people...who say 'Keep to Yourself, do not come near me, for I am HOLIER than you!'"
Doesn't this sound like our peoples today -- all puffed up with "knowledge" and denying the very existence of YEHOVAH God? We have concocted theories such as evolution, and put our faith in "science" to deliver us from our problems, instead of relying on the Eternal God! We have become "HOLIER" than YEHOVAH God!
The ride of the White Horse is noted by Daniel in a prophecy for the end times:
"But the people who know their God shall be strong and do great things. Those with spiritual understanding will have a wide ministry of teaching in those days. But they will be in CONSTANT DANGER, many of them dying by fire and sword, or being jailed and robbed. Eventually these pressures will subside, and some ungodly men will come, pretending to offer a helping hand, only to take advantage of them. And some who are most gifted in the things of God WILL STUMBLE IN THOSE DAYS AND FALL, but this will only REFINE and CLEANSE them and make them PURE until the final end of all their trials, at God's appointed time" (Daniel 11:32-35).
The riding of the White Horse and the resulting persecution occurs during the time of a "man of lawlessness." II Thessalonians 2 shows that this "evil man" is CONTEMPORARY with the work of the White Horse just prior to the return of the Messiah:
"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until THE REBELLION occurs and THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, and even sets himself up in GOD'S TEMPLE, proclaiming himself to be God. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?
"And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed AT THE PROPER TIME. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless [evil] one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and DESTROY by the SPLENDOR of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the WORK OF SATAN displayed in all kinds of COUNTERFEIT MIRACLES, SIGNS AND WONDERS, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They PERISH because they REFUSED TO LOVE THE TRUTH and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a POWERFUL DELUSION so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have NOT believed the Truth but have delighted in wickedness" (Verses 1-12).
To refuse to love the truth our people MUST HAVE RECEIVED THE TRUTH IN THE FIRST PLACE!! Therefore, these words of Paul show that the White Horse WILL REACH the modern nations of Israel as a witness. The White Horse of Revelation 6:2 will PREPARE THE WAY for the rider of the white horse of Revelation 19:11 -- YEHOVAH GOD HIMSELF!! The WHITE HORSE will ride, but the message, in the most part, will be ignored or rejected.
However, the TRUTH of YEHOVAH God will not be waylaid or prevented from accomplishing its purpose. Writes Philip Mauro --
"'He went forth conquering.' These words bring up before our minds the early triumphs of the gospel, from the day it was first preached 'with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven,' to the end of the Book of Acts; and all the way from Jerusalem to Rome [and even as far as the British Isles!]. Then the last three words, 'and to conquer,' carry our thoughts onward to 'the end,' referred to by the apostle Paul in that great passage in which he unfolds the gospel of the Kingdom of Christ, where he says: 'Then cometh the end;...when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death' (1 Cor. 15:24, 25). It is to this last victory over death and the grave that the words 'and to conquer' specially refer; for Chapter 20:14 of Revelation records the final triumph, saying, 'And death and hell (Gr. hades) were cast into the lake of fire.' And, referring to the same event, the apostle Paul in the passage just quoted, says: 'Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave (Gr. hades), where is thy victory?' (1 Cor. 15:54, 55).
"Therefore we find in the words, 'conquering, and to conquer,' strong, indeed conclusive proof, that the passage refers to Christ, NOT to any antichrist; and further that it particularly symbolizes the going forth of the gospel of Christ into the world, and the career thereof from beginning to end" (Things Which Soon Must Come to Pass, pps. 198-199).
What Should We Do About It?
The rider of the White Horse of Revelation 6:2, who is coming in the SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH, will accomplish the task of turning many in the modern nations of Israel back to OBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS YEHOVAH God gave Moses. This coming horseman will have the SAME MISSION, and do the SAME TYPE OF WORK as the first Elijah! He will demonstrate to the people of our nations that they are following A SUN-GOD WORSHIP, and are not worshipping the Eternal -- the God of their fathers!
This will be our last chance to repent before YEHOVAH God's curses (as outlined in Deuteronomy 32 and Leviticus 26) come to pass. Many will repent, but as a whole our nations will remain stiff-necked and DISOBEDIENT. As a result, the curses of the law will descend upon us!
Now that we have uncovered the TRUE IDENTITY of the White Horse of Revelation 6:2, what are YOU going to do about it? This new understanding should excite you and fill you full of ZEAL to do this end-time work of the LIVING GOD! The time is short! The appearance of our Lord and Savior and the return of YEHOVAH God Himself ARE AT HAND!
The White Horse and rider symbolize a work going out with POWER AND STRENGTH! The bowstring is drawn, the ARROWS OF SALVATION are ready to fly into the hearts of our peoples. Are you going to help prepare the way for the return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah -- or are you going to be pulled off your horse and fall into the grips of the other three horsemen? THE CHOICE IS UP TO YOU!!
(Be sure to read the articles on the other three horses of Revelation 6!)
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
Hope of Israel Ministries
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