I was so excited to hear that we were eventually going to get a series on Revelation. I love Revelation and I was looking forward to what pastor had to say. Tonight was about the fourth in the series and he opened with Revelation 6:2. In his opening statements he said, many of you are going to disagree with what I am about to say; I did.
Revelation 6:2 KJV 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.
He began his explanation of the passage by telling us that this is a representation of Jesus Christ, touching briefly, on why he felt this was the most logical interpretation. He stated, that the church is still here at this point and has not left the earth as many believe happens at the beginning of chapter four.
Pastor did not say where he got his information from, but it sounds very similar to Jameson Fausset and Brown’s, as you will see.
Revelation 6:2 – A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown
Evidently Christ, whether in person, or by His angel, preparatory to His coming again, as appears from Rev_19:11, Rev_19:12.
bow — (Psalm_45:4,5).
Where David speaks of God’s arrows being sharp, but makes no mention of the bow. While it seems logical to assume a bow, we are looking for evidence and this is not explicitly what we need.
crown — Greek, “stephanos,” the garland or wreath of a conqueror, which is also implied by His white horse, white being the emblem of victory. In Rev_19:11, Rev_19:12 the last step in His victorious progress is represented; accordingly there He wears many diadems (Greek, “diademata”; not merely Greek, “stephanoi,” “crowns” or “wreaths”), and is personally attended by the hosts of heaven. Compare Zec_1:7-17; Zec_6:1-8; especially Rev_6:10 below, with Zec_1:12; also compare the colors of the four horses.
and to conquer — that is, so as to gain a lasting victory. All four seals usher in judgments on the earth, as the power which opposes the reign of Himself and His Church. This, rather than the work of conversion and conviction, is primarily meant, though doubtless, secondarily, the elect will be gathered out through His word and His judgments.
As you can see, the definitions used by JFB have to correlate with Christ’s continuing work in the earth or the analogy does not work. I have a huge problem with this and pastor’s interpretation.
When I am trying to understand a difficult passage I rely on several methods: I compare commentaries, look at the context, let scripture define scripture by finding other texts such Zechariah’s prophecy that help to define what I am reading, and rely on the Holy Spirit as Jesus tells us in John 14:26.
John 14:26 NASB “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
I acknowledge that I need the help of teachers also, just as the Ethiopian eunuch confessed this to Philip as he tried to understand the prophecy of Isaiah.
Acts 8:29-31 MKJV Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near and join yourself to this chariot. (30) And Philip ran there to him and heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and said, Do you indeed understand what you are reading? (31) And he said, How can I unless some man should guide me? And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.
Let us break Revelation 6:2 down a bit and then go into some details.
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. (Revelation 6:2 KJV)
Behold a white horse.
John McArthur gives a clear explanation, so I will defer some of this to him (even though I am not his biggest fan.)
white horse. The animal represents an unparalleled time of world peace—a false peace that is to be short-lived (see note on Rev_6:4). This peace will be ushered in by a series of false messiahs, culminating with the Antichrist (Mat_24:3-5).
If you think about it, the earth has never had any lasting times of peace, but several countries have quieter than others, and America was one of them. It does not take much more than common sense to see that peace within this nation is slipping away fast. This is an entirely different picture if you live in the Northern African nations, Egypt, and most of the Middle Eastern nations as Islam and ISIS proclaim their idea of peace while killing you.
From the “for your information” files: The howstuffworks.com website, informs us that Australia compiled data to indicate the time and country that was the most peaceful, and the year was 2009.
“Once all the data is compiled, the country with the lowest score is declared the most peaceful. In 2009, New Zealand was crowned the most peaceful country in the world, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Austria. The United States came in at number 83.”
This information is based on factors such as:
- Relations with neighboring countries
- Number of homicides per 100,000 people
- Estimated number of deaths from organized conflict
- Level of disrespect for human rights
- Number of heavy weapons per 100,000 people
- Number of jailed inmates per 100,000 people
- Military capability/sophistication
- Ease of access to weapons of minor destruction
- Potential for terrorist acts
“the most publicized peaceful era is the Pax Romana. Latin for “Roman peace,” this period of roughly 200 years was made famous by the 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon in his landmark book “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” .”
Does this surprise anyone – peace through oppression?
“Despite all the drawbacks of modern living, we really are living in the most peaceful time in recorded history. But remember, it’s all relative.” http://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-events/most-peaceful-time-in-history.htm
Look at the passage again, but this time in the amplified bible.
Revelation 6:2 AMP And I looked, and saw there a white horse whose rider carried a bow. And a crown was given him, and he rode forth conquering and to conquer. [Ps. 45:4, 5; Zech. 1:8; Zech. 6:1-3.]
Psalm 45:4,5 is the only place where God is referenced as having sharp arrows, but there is no bow in the description, so that does not fit, nor assist our understanding. Zechariah 6:1-3 does not work either, although there is the mention of white horses. The problem with using this to help define Rev 6:2 is that these are attached to chariots and are specifically from before the throne of God. The verse that speaks specifically to Rev 6:2 is Zechariah 1:8, and I will give you the context to read.
Zechariah 1:8-12 MKJV I watched by night. And behold! a Man riding on a red horse, and He stood among the myrtle trees in the ravine. And behind Him were red, sorrel and white horses. (9) Then I said, O my lord, what are these? And the angel who talked with me said to me, I will show you what these are. (10) And the Man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are those whom Jehovah has sent to walk to and fro through the earth. (11) And they answered the Angel of Jehovah who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and behold, all the earth sits still and is at peace. (12) Then the Angel of Jehovah answered and said, O Jehovah of Hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah against which You have cursed these seventy years?
Zechariah sees something that puzzles him, but what should be so puzzling about riders on horses. The symbolism might be part of the answer, but what I suspect may have been more predominant would be the question, what is their purpose? An inquisitive read of the passage and something like a Strong’s concordance will give you the answers to the question.
Zechariah asks a question of the angel addressing him, who in turn, asks of the man among the myrtle trees. My personal belief is that this is Jesus.
Here is where it takes a sinister turn, “And the Man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are those whom Jehovah has sent to walk to and fro through the earth.” It all sounds so benign until you look up the word sent. Sent is the Hebrew word shâlach, and means forsaken or cast away. Who are the main characters in scripture that have been cast away, Satan and one-third of the angels. Then this rider is at the least a fallen angel–we like to call them demons, and they are bent on destruction and deception.
He that sat on him had a bow
Note how McArthur says: “this is a false peace that is to be short-lived”. This statement is very important to me because it bears witness with evidence. My convictions that something is true are based on scripture, common sense, an understanding of what is going on in the world, that I educated myself on what Islam believes, and some interesting revelations coming to light from Jewish interpretations of future events.
Using the naïve, method of interpretation, every hero arrives on a white horse to save the day; so why not here? The problem is that this rider has an archers bow in his hand. In contrast with Revelation 19, where another white horse rider shows up, this one is carrying a sword. and it clearly identified as Jesus. Jesus never shows up using a bow, He has always been represented using a sword, unless, as I pointed out earlier where David describes sharp arrows.
Again, I defer to McArthur:
He who sat on it. The four horses and their riders do not represent specific individuals, but forces. Some, however, identify this rider with Antichrist. Although he will be the leading figure, John’s point is that the entire world will follow him, being obsessed with pursuing this false peace.
Is it mandatory that you read the Qur’an and understand Islam, its prophecies and how they parallel –almost to the letter what we believe in bible prophecy? No, but I would prefer that we, like the Berean’s, would pursue knowledge and ask questions.
I believe that John wrote with the full intention of his reader’s being able to understand what he was telling them, even if it would not apply to them. We see one possibility given by Keener, who paints a similar, and yet historical time also lacking peace.
From The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament – Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener
Rev_6:2. “The very image of an archer on a white horse would strike terror into the heart of a pro-Roman reader. The only mounted archers of antiquity were the Parthians, whose tactics and skills had made them Rome’s most feared enemies; old Persian armies, whose heirs the Parthians were, always included sacred white horses. Although the Old Testament uses the “bow” as a symbol of judgment by battle more generally, Roman readers would think of this eastern nation that had defeated them in some recent wars; Parthians’ skill as archers was common knowledge. Other contemporary apocalyptic writers (Similitudes of Enoch) also suggested a dreaded Parthian invasion, hence ancient readers would have readily understood that this horseman meant conquest and war.”
We have been warned about false teachers. I am not saying my pastor is a false teacher, but the day will come when they, will intentionally try to lead those that mindlessly follow astray. If I were your pastor, I would admonish you to look these things up for yourselves.
What is the point? The point is that time is short and I think it is safe to say that the white horse rider is already upon us, taking peace from the earth. You do not have to be Einstein to see that. Are you ready? If not try praying this: Jesus, I give my life to you. I receive your life, and everything you did so that I can have a life with you, into mine. Open your mouth and say it, and you are his.