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Is The Rider On The White Horse Of Revelation 6:2 Christ Or Anti-Christ?

Posted by Job on March 9, 2011

Revelation 6:1-2 reads “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”

The predominant view in modern western fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity is that the rider of the white horse is the anti-Christ. This was my view until very recently, when I read the John Bunyan allegory “Holy War“, which altered, or should I say enhanced, my view of Jesus Christ (more on that later), just as did reading “Pilgrim’s Progress Part 1” changed my view of Christian living and Part II changed my view of the pastorate and of the church.

Allow me to say that this article provides a good reason why the rider on the white horse cannot be the anti-Christ, which is that the four horsemen are released this eschatological figure is not released until the fifth trumpet. The trumpets do not occur until the seventh seal, and the white horse is released by the first seal. So, the white horse comes at or near the beginning of the events of Revelation (presuming a linear timeline with a literal interpretation) while the anti-Christ comes well into those events. Some interpretations deal with this by claiming that the reference in Revelation 6:2 is the anti-Christ’s laying the groundwork, placing everything in order, for his full unveiling to the earth that is described later.

Well, further arguments against the rider being the anti-Christ are given in this article. It deals with how those who propose that the rider is the anti-Christ deal with the fact that white is always used to represent Godly virtue by making the statement that the anti-Christ comes in this manner to deceive people into thinking that he is Jesus Christ. However, this interpretation requires starting with the idea that the rider on the white horse is the anti-Christ, and then making everything else fit, something often called thesis-driven analysis and also called eisegesis. If your starting point was neutral concerning the identity of this character, then his being on a white horse would immediately disqualify your  associating him with the anti-Christ. But if your starting point was his being the anti-Christ, that is when you have to contrive an explanation for the horse being white, one that seems to violate all rules and standards for hermeneutics used for other passages. The question is: “Why is this done?”

It goes back to one’s view of Jesus Christ. The rider of the white horse is given a bow and he went forth to conquer, and conquer he did! Modern, humanistic, enlightenment thinking does not permit viewing Jesus Christ as the Conqueror. That is, at least not until the last day when Jesus Christ comes to judge the nations for their wickedness. That is the one time that the modern church with its man-centered mindset allows Jesus Christ, who as God is the Creator, Owner and Sustainer of the Universe, to be viewed as a conquering ruler. (And for those who believe in the rapture, this happens when the church is already off the scene, and is spared having to deal with Jesus Christ in this role.) In the modern mindset, Jesus Christ can be viewed as the sacrificial lamb, advisor, “co-pilot”, best friend, psychiatrist/psychologist, enabler, helper, moneychanger (prosperity doctrine), mystic/shaman, errand boy, and even romantic lover, but NOT as a conquerer. This stark, authoritarian, militaristic view runs counter to the modernistic Jeffersonian view that exalts such ideas as civil rights, human rights, democracy etc. above all, and needs a Jesus Christ that will bow and be conformed to it. Thus, Jesus Christ as conquerer cannot exist in the mind of the modernist/postmodernist Christian except for a single day when He is forced to execute that role with respect to the wicked. With the exception of that day, Jesus Christ remains in a construct that the modern mind finds acceptable. And according to that construct, where conquest to set up authoritarian rule is undemocratic is evil, this HAS to be the anti-Christ!

It cannot be Jesus Christ according to this mindset, because this mindset makes Jesus Christ a democrat. This Jesus Christ does not conquer. No, this Jesus Christ is standing outside the human heart like a lovesick teenage loverboy knocking on the door waiting, longing, begging for His sweetheart to come in. And it is only when the person that Jesus Christ’s target makes the free will decision to open the door to his or her heart and invite Jesus Christ in that salvation occurs.

For this to happen any other way, uninvited, unasked, and without consent, is tyranny. For Jesus Christ is not a sovereign king who rules by way of His undisputed dominion over the creation that is the work of His own hands for Him to do as He pleases. No, that is tyranny. Such rule is illegitimate, based on the threat of force rather than the consent of the governed! A true, enlightened philosopher king governs not by power or divine right, but by mutual consent! So, the one who stands at the door and knocks and will not come in without the consent of the “pilot” (for Jesus Christ is merely the co-pilot, not the actual pilot who is running the show and is the true master of eternal destiny, which is man’s free will) is Jesus Christ, the genuine article. The conquerer who does not ask permission, who does not gladly (though under submission) come when asked and does not meekly leave when rejected? Now that has to be the anti-Christ! So says the modern Christian mindset.

Thankfully, John Bunyan did not live in modern Enlightenment times! Therefore, Bunyan presents a different Jesus Christ, one that is actually present on the pages of the Bible before all the modern humanist filters and constructs are placed on it. Bunyan’s rather rough allegory presents a kingdom ruled by Shaddai (God the Father), whose most prominent and prized possession is the city Mansoul, which was built by the King Himself. While the modern mindset reared on democracy would revile the idea that a city is the possession of any king, A) this was in fact the custom of monarchs in times past – the kingdom and all in it were their possessions, and in the east the subjects of the “lord-kings” were considered slaves to the lord-king, and remember the Bible is an oriental book, not a western book and B) the Bible was fully written in the mindset of this custom. Mansoul rebelled against King Shaddai due to the provocation and trickery of Diabolus (Satan) and made Satan its king instead, under the false pretense that they could exchange status as slaves under King Shaddai’s rule to free men under his rule. Of course, Diabolus immediately made the residents of Mansoul his slaves, but so thoroughly corrupted and tricked them that they mistook the slavery of Diabolus and sin for liberation. Their delusion was so strong that when King Shaddai sent His captains (difficult to tell in the allegory, my guess is that they are angels) to liberate Mansoul from Diabolus, they resisted with all their might. The story was explicit: when Mansoul was given a multitude of opportunities to make a free will choice for King Shaddai, they rejected King Shaddai each time due to the depths of their depravity.

So, King Shaddai sent His Son, Prince Emmanuel, to recapture Mansoul. In this allegory, Emmanuel did not conquer Mansoul by standing at the door knocking and being invited in. Quite the contrary, He came with an army of soldiers and overcame the recalcitrant Mansoul, who resisted Him with all the force that it could muster – as it was still dedicated and devoted to Diabolus and its own sinful passions – with mighty force. Make no mistake, in this allegory, “and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” Mansoul! After the conquering of Mansoul was done, Prince Emmanuel had the entire town confess that He took the town for Himself as His prize by force; that when the town had the chance – indeed several chances – to yield itself up to the government of the Prince and His Father by choice, they refused each time. So, Mansoul chose the rule of Diabolus, and Prince Emmanuel gained the rule of Mansoul only by overtaking Diabolus, binding him, driving him out, and “spoiling the goods of the strongman” by declaring and setting up His own rule and domain – and through it re-establishing the same of King Shaddai – by force. Mansoul had no say in the matter, because Mansoul, by decree, election and will of God the Father its Owner and Creator – had declared it to be so. Mansoul did not choose Prince Emmanuel, but Emmanuel chose Mansoul (John 15:16).

Now, Jesus Christ as He is commonly depicted in most modern gospel music is not the rider on the white horse. But Jesus Christ as depicted in Holy War and in the Bible may well be. If nothing else, it is something to consider. Another thing to consider: why would the anti-Christ have to go about conquering the world to begin with? According to the words of Jesus Christ, Satan is already the prince of this world (John 14:30)! 2 Corinthians 4:4 declares Satan to be the god of this world, Ephesians 2:2 declares him to be the prince of the powers of the air. So, the anti-Christ does not need to conquer the world. All he needs is to have Satan’s authority transferred to him. Revelation 13:2 says exactly that: “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Further, Revelation 17 says that the rulers of the earth GIVE their power to the beast, NOT that he conquers them and takes it from them by force.

This may seem like idle speculation, or an excessive emphasis on “last things” when other issues concerning orthodoxy and orthopraxy are more pressing: “minoring in the majors.” However, one’s view of last things often casts a shadow on one’s belief. Many theological liberals and “moderates” de-emphasize predictive prophecy because of an anti-supernatural bias. Others use apocalyptic texts to promote the political and social causes that are near and dear to them. And many Christians are attracted to the rapture doctrines because of their desire not to suffer persecution and rejection by the world as Christ suffered the same.

In a similar fashion, the idea that the anti-Christ is the conquerer on the white horse reveals the mindset of a great many Christian theologians, preachers, and laymen concerning the doctrine of original sin. So many Christians SAY that they believe in original sin, or even total depravity, but by adhering to such interpretations as this, it really does imply otherwise. If original sin is true, if total depravity is true, then why is it that Jesus Christ comes only by willing invitation, and the anti-Christ only by force? Is that not backwards? If the anti-Christ, the beast is “the man of sin”, then the fallen, wicked world, if it is not his already, will freely, gladly accept him as one of their own, a kindred spirit! Again, why would a sinful world oppose and resist a man of sin? Why would they not accept him and instead need to be conquered by him? Only if there is some inherent virtue, inherent goodness in him that would cause him to resist the evil rather than accept it.

The idea that the anti-Christ would have to conquer is based on the notion that man is basically good; that the nations are basically good. And is that not what so many seem to adhere to because of their political, cultural and social beliefs? That the nations – especially the pro-western capitalist democracies – are good, and only the exceptions – the anti-democratic, anti-western, authoritarian regimes – are bad.

Isn’t it curious how most of the theories about where the anti-Christ will come is from the “bad” nations? First it was from the “bad” communist regimes. Then it was from the “bad” secular humanist socialist United Nations or European Union. Now speculation centers on the “bad” Islamic regimes. The idea that the anti-Christ could come from – gasp! – America, the shining city on a hill, the nation founded on Christianity and is a beacon of freedom and goodness? Well, MAYBE, but only if he is not really one of us like Obama!

Again, it is based on the idea that there is some inherent virtue in man, and some inherent virtue in what man builds. It is based on a rejection of original sin, a rejection of total depravity. Even the very idea that Satan takes over the earth and installs the anti-Christ only when the church departs after the rapture is based on the notion that Satan is not the god of this world at present! Ironically, people who adhere to this belief are de facto amillennalists believing that rather than being the god of this world in this present age, Satan is currently bound by the church’s presence.

So many Christians who profess to be evangelical or fundamentalist and profess a belief in original sin based on the actions of Adam only apply that doctrine to soteriology. They only apply mankind’s fallen nature to the individual human soul! But when it comes time to apply it to a larger scale, they shrink back! Why? Because of their love of this present world and the things in it! To those people, James 4:4’s “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” applies to liking MTV and the New York Times editorial page and not the entire fallen worldly system! The parts of the world they like, they consider it good, moral, even Christian. It is only the part that they are alienated from, usually because of political or cultural considerations, that they consider to be “worldly.”

But go back to the text and view it in context. Yes, Revelation concerns the last days. But the letter to the Hebrews – and elsewhere in the New Testament – declares that the last days began after the work of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of God’s plan and the high point of the history of creation. So, the last days – the time period that Revelation concerns itself with – is not merely the last seven years, the “great tribulation.” Instead, it concerns itself with the entire endtimes, which is now, and has been since Pentecost. That is why the letters to the churches are the first part of the Revelation. They are not introductory material to set the stage for the eschatology. Instead, they are part and parcel of the eschatology!

In that context, note that the white horse and its rider come first. It is the first seal! So, after the heavenly visions in Revelation 4-5, the white horse and its rider are the first thing that we encounter when the events shift back earthward in Revelation 6. So, why not strongly associate the white horse and rider with Jesus Christ speaking to and walking amongst the churches in Revelation 2-3? Were the material in Revelation to be arranged topically (i.e. with the things happening in heaven all together and the things happening on earth all together), that is exactly how it would appear … Revelation 6:1-2 would immediately follow the challenge to the Laodicean church!

So then, why not consider the possibility that the rider on the white horse given the bow and the crown and goes about conquering (and as this article states he does not obtain or use these things illegitimately in a manner that is against God’s will … such ideas are missing from the text) is going about to foreign lands conquering souls of sinners for God the Father? Did not Jesus Christ say in the Olivet discourse (i.e. Matthew 24:14) that the end will not come until His gospel is preached in all the world for a witness to all nations? Well, in Revelation 6, though it is certainly the last days, the end is not yet come! So, me must consider that the rider on the white horse is none other than Prince Emmanuel enlarging the domain of King Shaddai through the conquest of souls in every tribe and nation that are hardened with the total depravity of original sin.

Granted, this article does state that the rider is the Holy Spirit, not Jesus Christ. I disagree, but for my purposes the distinction is not a great one, as Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit in His Name to complete His Work through the church which is Jesus Christ’s Body, and the Holy Spirit is the One who performs regeneration. Instead, the main point is to consider the strong possibility that man-centered, humanistic thinking is the reason why the rider on the white horse was ever called the anti-Christ to begin with, especially when one has to be very inconsistent in one’s interpretation of Revelation and the Bible in general to arrive at that viewpoint.

Of course, the main point is that Jesus Christ is returning to judge the world and all its people for their wickedness. The only way to escape this judgment that is certainly to come at a time in the future that has been predetermined by God the Father is to be saved through Jesus Christ. If you have not been, I urge and entreat you that you would be so; that you too would be a conquest of Jesus Christ as was I.

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9 Responses to “Is The Rider On The White Horse Of Revelation 6:2 Christ Or Anti-Christ?”

  1. [...] irresistible grace, and gives support to the theory that the rider of the white horse of Revelation is not the anti-Christ, but instead is the Holy Spirit, and the conquering that the rider on the white horse goes about [...]

  2. Craig Opal said

    This is a good article. I agree that the rider on the white horse isn’t the antichrist, but I have other reasons as well. 1. Antichrist is a man. The riders on the horses are spirit riders not men. There is no one man who can remove peace from the earth all by himself. 2. He has a bow in his hand. The antichrist is never described as having a bow in his hand anywhere, but Jesus is in Zech.chapter 9.

    3. All of these riders have tremendous power that is affecting all of mankind which no one man can do. Later on when the Antichrist attempts to force everyone to accept his mark, many will decline it and be killed as Martyrs, so he will not have nearly the power that these spirit riders possess.

    4.The first rider has a crown, which signifies he has even more power than the riders after him do and he is likely commanding them to do what they will and in charge of them. We need to remember Jesus uses both evil spirits and men to do his will.

    5. Gods wrath is not mentioned in the first five seals nor is the Apocalypse. This has been a manmade concoction from the beginning.

    • Job said

      Excellent points all! And thank you!

      By the way, have you considered the historic premillennial position, which was (as best as we can tell) the position of the early church (as represented by Polycarp)?

      http://www.biblicist.org/bible/premil.shtml

      http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/hispre.html

      http://www.fivesolas.com/esc_chrt.htm

      http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Eschatology/Millennial-Views/Historic-Premillennialism/

      • Craig Opal said

        If that is meaning there is no pre-tribulation Rapture of the church, I have considered it and found it to be lacking, however at the same time I do not subscribe to every traditional pre-trib teaching either.

        Still we have the problem of the escape verses such as Luke 21:28, 21:36, Rev. 3:10, 1 Thess 5:3&9, that clearly show some are escaping God’s wrath early and that we have not been appointed to suffer his wrath. They are not showing protection during. To escape or to be kept from something means to not be there physically.

        All we then need to do, is identify where Gods wrath begins. it is clear in Rev. 6-16-17, that it begins then, as the people of earth are proclaiming it. So those who think it starts later such as when the Antichrist goes into the temple, is missing this.

        Why do we want to prop Polycarp’s teaching up to being on par with the original? Didn’t the churches that Paul start himself stray from original teaching while he himself was still in charge of?

        Isn’t the letters to the churches in fact to not only encourage, but to also correct error? The original is good enough for us. Polycarp obviously began to stray from the original himself. Now what do we have today? At least dozens of differing teachings on what people think scripture says instead of what it actually does.

        • Job said

          Polycarp asserted that his teachings came directly from apostle John. Further, he was not alone. To the extent that we know about the eschatology of the church from the first to mid-second century, a time when there was still a significant number of Jewish Christians in the church before the faith became Hellenized, historic premillennialism was the dominant position. At that time, there was no rapture timing debate, because no teachings concerning the rapture, pretribulation or otherwise, have been traced to that early of a date. So, claiming that Polycarp and others departed from the true rapture teaching into error is difficult, because it would have meant that there is no historical record of ANYONE teaching the truth at that time. So to assert that this is the original teaching that Polycarp strayed from … you have to do more than assert that your own interpretation is the original true teaching and charge everyone who disagrees with YOU as being in error. That is the same as elevating your own interpretation of the Bible as having the same authority as the Bible itself.

          For instance, you charge people of abandoning the explicit meaning of the Bible, yet the rapture is not explicitly given. The second coming is explicitly stated, the millennium is explicitly stated, the great white throne judgment is explicitly stated, so is the lake of fire and New Jerusalem, but the rapture isn’t. So, advocates of the rapture doctrine have to rely on the same hints and theories as everyone else. And the idea of the “tribulation saints” and other doctrines such as “the Holy Spirit being removed from the earth” … those simply do not appear in the Bible, but instead are conjectures that people have come up with to “fill in the blanks” created by other doctrines, i.e. the problem created by the anti-Christ killing saints when the saints have been raptured already.

          As to your verses:

          Luke 21:28 can very easily refer to the second advent of Jesus Christ as opposed to a secret rapture.
          Luke 21:26 is legitimate. I will look into it.
          Revelation 3:10 … well when you consider the OT, one of the ways to escape tribulation IS a martyr’s death. There are various instances in the OT where God declared that going to the grave in peace and honor was preferable to living through the conditions that Israel was going to suffer due to their idolatry. I agree that applying the common OT example of the “escape” that God oft gave to His saints is difficult to apply to Luke 21:26, which is why I said that I will study that verse.
          As for 1 Thess 5:3-9, I have to disagree with you. The destruction of the wicked in view there is not in the great tribulation, but in the lake of fire, and the escape is New Jerusalem, which will be given to all saints, and not merely those alive at the time of the rapture.

          Bottom line: if the rapture teachings were as explicit as you claim, there would be more (or more accurately SOME) teachings reflecting it in the early church. There aren’t any. And that is a reason why I myself have started investigating historic premillennialism.

          • Craig Opal said

            You make some assumptions that I don’t adhere to, but first again to Polycarp. Last I knew Polycarp has no books in the bible. We all can assert what ever we like about scripture. Either our opinions and statements match those of the original scriptures or they don’t. If Polycarp and others didn’t believe in a pre-wrath Rapture, then that was their mis-interpretation and proves my point about how fast anyone can stray from original teaching, just as the very first churches did while Paul and the other apostles were still alive.

            History and or traditional teaching that does not match scripture is in error. So it’s not enough to study to scripture only, we have to also study the writings of Polycarp etc?

            As far as a secret Rapture goes, I agree, that has been a made up type of thing,as is the removal of the Holy Spirit. But the gathering or snatching away will be a public event, because of what scripture tells us about the 6th seal and the Holy Spirit will remain as well. Matthew 24:31, Rev. 1:7 and others matches the 6th seal, not the 2nd advent. There are no “armies of heaven” mentioned in Rapture scriptures.

            Luke 21:36 is the verse I was referring to, not 21:26. But more on 1 Thess 5:3-9. Paul is talking about how Jesus is coming as a thief, there is no talk of judgement there as later in Revelation. But tell me how Jesus comes as a thief after so many specific judgments in both the trumpet and bowl judgements? Even the ungodly will know that Jesus is coming at the 2nd advent and they too will be able to calculate the day, There will be no surprises then except when they are defeated.

  3. M Pierce said

    THIS IS COMPLETE BLASPHEMY…..YES I’M OPEN TO ALL INTERPATATIONS BUT THIS GOES ALITTLE TO FAR….ON MY PART MUST RESEARCH HAS TO BE DONE TO COME TO ANY AGREEMENT WITH THESE WRITTINGS…..WHERE R UR BIBICIAL BACK UP SCRIPTURES? LORD FORBID!

  4. tsaphan said

    Rev 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a stephanos was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

    The rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:2 is given A Stephanos/Prize, and then he goes forth conquering and to conquer, this cannot be the Lamb who just opened this seal, because all power was already given unto Him.

    And Yeshuah came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Matt 28:18

    Yeshuah opens the seal to release Himself in the period of time known as the Day of YHWH, which occurs at the end of this age to receive a Prize and then goes forth conquering ?

    I don’t think so, besides Yeshuah haMashiyach

    The Word of Elohiym
    And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many “Diadems”; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. in Rev 19:11-12

    Yeshuah already has Many diadems, all power in heaven and earth already belongs to Him, He was found worthy to open the seals

    The rider of Rev 6:2 comes with a different spirit, a spirit of change, even having his acceptance speech for the presidency in a replica of the Pergamum temple of satan under a white horse in Denver

    Question: the he that confirms the covenant does so to begin the seventieth week, does that automatically make him the one who satan will empower when he is cast to the earth at the midst of that week – The Great Tribulation, Yacob’s trouble.

    The dragon is given a short time, 1260 days 42 months 3 and 1/2 times to do his work…The Great Tribulation starts at the middle of the last week.

    Don’t you think the enemy is preparing his minions for his arrival, the king of babylon

    with a white horse on top of the stadium to go with it…

    From my site > http://tsaphan.wordpress.com/

    And he shall Strengthen the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Dan 9:27

    Gabar – Strengthen – In order to strengthen the covenant with many – (rab, adjective), it must already exist… It is not he makes, then the Hebrew word Karath would have been used to start the countdown.

    From Obama’s speech at the Turkish Parliament, April 6, 2009
    ■TheUnited States strongly supports the goal of two states,Israel and Palestine, living side by side in Peace and Security (Joel 3:2, 1 Thess 5:3)

    That is a goal that the parties agreed to in the Road map and at Annapolis

    From Obama’s speech at Cairo University, June 4, 2009 – Titled: Obama speaks to the Muslim world > In the audience were 10 Members of the Muslim Brotherhood that received official invites

    The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

    The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear

    On Ethanim 21 2009

    10.09.2009 / Ethanim 21 BHO was given the Nobel Peace Prize for Strengthening the covenant with many, The Roadmap to Peace, that day was the Seventh Day of Sukkot, Hoshanah Rabbah – The Final sealing of Judgment

    http://tsaphan.wordpress.com/

  5. The rider of the white horse to me is the Church. The bow he holds is God’s word (The bible) that shoots arrows (God’s judgement messages) that pierces the heart and spirit dividing them assunder. The crown is the symbol of victory.

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