Times of Tribulation (Revelation 6-11) >Seven Seals >1st seal >The White Horse
The visions which John sees now take on the theme of tribulation. This theme starts at chapter six, and continues through chapter 11.
You may have heard of “the four horses of the apocalypse”. These are the four horses which John saw in visions as recorded in Revelation 6:1-8.
These visions of the four horses were the first John saw after the scenes in heaven, which we studied in our previous lessons. You will recall that the Lamb was the only one found worthy to open the book and break its seals (Revelation 5:1-14).
You will also recall that four living creatures — one like a lion, one like a calf, one like a man, and one like an eagle — were among those who worshipped God and the Lamb (Revelation 4:7).
Now, in chapter six, the Lamb begins to open the seals of the book. Remember this book represents the gospel of Christ. The seals represent the fact that the gospel is "the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for ages past" (Romans 16:25, cf 1Corinthians 2:6-10),
Since each creature in turn calls John to see a particular horse and its rider, we would expect some correlation between what a living creature represents, and what the horse and horseman represents that he calls John to see.
The first creature was like a lion (Revelation 4:7). The lion is a royal and kingly symbol and represents the fact that Jesus is "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation 19:6).
The rider with bow and crown represents the rule of kings and lords on earth, such as the Roman Caesars. The bow symbolises conquering and the crown symbolises dominion. So the white horse and its rider stands for earthly rule and authority and dominion.
Jesus told us that "nation shall rise against nation" (Matthew 24:7). This is a tribulation common throughout human history, and it shall continue for the entire gospel age until Jesus comes.
The following scripture chain will show how Christians should consider the problem of their subjection to earthly power and rule and authority, especially when it is oppressive and usurped by conquest...
Titus 3:1, Matthew 5:10-11, Ephesians 1:19-21, 1Corinthians 15:24, John 18:36, Ephesians 6:12, Acts 5:27-32.
If we belong to the kingdom of Christ, we can expect persecution from the rulers of this world. God will reward our endurance of these trials.
Jesus our heavenly King is far greater than any principality or power on earth, for God has put all things under his feet. He is King of kings, and Lord of lords throughout all the ages.
At the end of the ages, Christ will take away all the authority and power of the rulers of this world. His kingdom is not of this world. Those who belong to his kingdom wrestle against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this present age. Allied with the rulers of this world are the spiritual and Satanic powers.
It is our task to influence our earthly rulers to govern justly and have respect for God. When they won't do that, and when they oppose us, we must obey God rather than man. We must obey Jesus, the Prince and Saviour whom God has raised to his own right hand.
So we greatly respect the white horse and its rider —the rule of kings and lords, the governing “powers that be” on earth. But we realise they can easily become corrupt, "the throne of iniquity that devises evil by law" (Psalm 94:20-23).
Live your life aware of these things.