Image and Article D A Cleland ©
The White Horse of Revelation 6 – Is it a description of the ‘Antichrist’ or the ‘Spirit of Christ’?
Let’s look at what other Bible Scholars & Teachers put forward as evidence for their interpretation, then I will show you the consistency of Scripture and also examine the root words from the Greek so you can decide for yourself who rides the White Horse.
We will look first at the colour of the Horse.
References to ‘White’ in the Bible
There are Twenty Nine references altogether of the word ‘white’ in the New Testament (now that is a lot of mentions of the word white) and ALL of the other 28 mentions MEAN ‘white’.
There are Nineteen references in total of the word ‘white’ in the book of Revelation itself and ALL of the others in this book represent the righteousness of the Father, the Lord Jesus, the Elders, and the “victory in righteous for the Saints who overcome. So with that evidence you would expect that the ‘White’ Horse of Revelation 6 would also represent “righteousness” when taken at face value.
Below I have provided all of the references to the word ‘white’ in the book of Revelation to prove the meaning of Righteousness.
Revelation 1:14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
Revelation 2:17 …will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Revelation 3:4 and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life…
Please Note: the word ‘overcometh’ is nikaō in the Greek and translates into 3 words in English – which are ‘victory’, ‘overcome’ and ‘conquer’.
Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear…
Revelation 4:4 I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
Revelation 6:2 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 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season…
Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands…
Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes and whence came they?
Revelation 7:14 These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
Revelation 15:6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen…
Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Revelation 19:11 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.
Revelation 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Revelation 20:11 …and I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
There are three accepted explanations from the Greek, given by Bible Scholars and Teachers for the word ‘bow’ of Revelation 6:2; and when all three are examined together, they reveal a precise description of the different facets of “Holy Spirit of God“. (I believe)
Here is the 1st explanation
Bible Teacher’s often declare that the rider on the White Horse carries a ‘warrior’s’ bow, however I discovered that it is ‘not the bow of a warrior’; this particular bow is only mentioned ‘once’ in all of scripture and in the Greek is the word (toxon), https://biblehub.com/str/greek/5115.htm .
The simple root word from the Greek language for ‘bow’ is Strong’s G5115 (τίκτω – tikto), which is a verb and has the meaning; ‘To Bring Forth’.
If you chose to look no deeper into the root word for Bow and kept just the simple meaning ‘To Bring Forth’ and then combined all of the other symbols connected with the White Horse. The symbols translate as; (White) righteousness, (Bow) To bring Forth, (Stéphanos – Victory Crown) The Victory. (I will examine the word for crown in more depth further on in this post.)
The Full interpretation/meaning of the root word (τίκτω – tikto) in the Greek is ‘To bear, produce (fruit from the seed) as of a woman giving birth’. https://biblehub.com/greek/5088.htm
Isn’t it the Holy Spirit who ‘brings forth’ ‘new birth’ and who ‘brings forth’ ‘fruit’ in our lives?
John 3:6 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again. ‘
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
Others state that the rider of the White Horse does not carry any arrows for his bow, so he must be the Antichrist… As mentioned above the bow in this case is not the bow of a warrior, so it would be impossible for the rider to shoot any physical arrows.
The 2nd explanation
Still another translation of the word bow in Revelation 6 is ‘the simplest fabric’. https://biblehub.com/str/greek/5115.htm
Here below the ‘simplest fabric’ is described by those who work with textiles.
Linen weave: simplest and thickest interlaced reversible fabric in which the appearance of the face and back of the woven fabric is the same. Source: en.texsite.info/Linen_weave
Linen weave is the simplest and surely the oldest weave: One up, one down, one up, one down etc. The result is a regular grid that looks the same from both the right and left side. Source: www.marquise.de/en/themes/howto/stoffkunde.shtml
Linen fabric was predominantly white in ancient times because the flax which the linen was made from does not hold dye very well. The flax fibre was left in the sun to be bleached white and then made into linen, so the whole process was very natural and simple with the end result being a pure white cloth.
The words ‘simplest fabric’ seem to tie the White Horse of Revelation 6 and the White Horses of Revelation 19 together. The explanation for the white linen that the saints are clothed with in Revelation 19:8 – is ‘fine white linen made from byssus, a species of Egyptian flax’ – this lines up with the description of the simplest fabric.
Revelation 19: 8 She was given clothing of fine linen, bright and pure.” For the fine linen she wears is the righteous acts of the saints.
Only the Holy Spirit (which I believe the White Horse of Revelation 6 stands for) can clothe the saints of Revelation 19 with His righteous acts, symbolised by the white linen or, as accurately described above, as the simplest fabric!
The 3rd explanation
Some Bible teachers see the “bow” of Revelation 6:2 as representing a ‘New Covenant’ such as the Rain’bow’ of Genesis – which I believe fits perfectly with the promise of the Holy Spirit being sent directly after Jesus ascended the throne of God as the victorious risen Lamb. Check and see for yourself, there is absolutely no hint of a 2,000 year gap between Jesus receiving honour and worship as the risen lamb in the last verse of Revelation 5, and the opening of the first seal in Revelation 6:2. Unfortunately some Bible teachers twist this interpretation for ‘bow’ into something sinister because they link it to the covenant of Daniel 9 ……. which I find confusing particularly considering that the ‘bow’ has been linked to the promise/covenant of God in the book of Genesis?
The three descriptions given for the word ‘bow’ are –
‘To Bring forth – New Birth’ and ‘To Bring Forth – Fruit’
Simplest Fabric – White Linen – the righteous acts of the saints.
The Stéphanos Crown (which is a ‘conquering’ or ‘victory garland) that the rider is ‘given’ is predominantly worn by Christ and the Saints! Here are a few examples for you.
1 Thessalonians 2:19 Crown of Rejoicing – (Garland of Rejoicing)
James 1:12 Crown of Life – (Garland of Life)
1 Peter 5:4 Crown of Glory – (Garland of Glory)
Revelation 2:10 Crown of Life – (Garland of Life)
Revelation 3:11 No man may take your Crown (Garland)
Numerous teachers often state emphatically that rider on the White Horse cannot be Christ because He wears ‘many diadēma (Strong’s G1238) golden kingly crowns’ in Revelation 19. They say that Jesus does not ever wear a stéphanos crown – but that he carries a sword instead. I discovered that Jesus wears the Stéphanos Crown TWICE! – In Revelation 14:14 Jesus is described as looking like the ‘Son of Man’ who sits on a white cloud with a Golden Stéphanos Crown ( Conquering Crown) on His head to harvest the earth. Jesus is referred to as the Son of Man another 85 times in the New Testament, determining that this verse is speaking of Christ. Jesus also wore a Stéphanos ‘Crown of Thorns’ while He hung on the Cross; this declaring that he was the lamb who ‘conquered’ the curse of ‘sin’. (Thorns as we know were what God cursed the earth with after Adam and Eve sinned).
Bible Teachers often put a lot of emphasis on the fact that the rider is ‘given’ the crown. I would just like to point out that the victory crown could not be ‘given – or passed on’ until Jesus had ‘won the victory’ over sin and death in Chapter 5 of Revelation, so that the White Horse could be sent out into all the earth to bring victory in righteousness in Chapter 6 of Revelation. It is logical to conclude that the White Horse describes the ‘One’ that Jesus promised He would send, the ‘One’ who is ‘like Him’, His Spirit who is ‘Victorious in Righteousness’ through His people – (Romans 8:10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness). – note the capital letter for Spirit shows that it is in reference to the ‘Holy Spirit’
You will note a pattern emerges with each mention of White Horses in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 6:2 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 19:11 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.
Revelation 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen white and clean.
Again this seems to tie all three mentions of white horses together, all going out to fight for the same cause of righteousness (as I have explained earlier the colour ‘white’ consistently stands for ‘righteousness’,) When the text is not added to and is looked at simply, the first white horse lines up with all of the other 18 mentions of white in Revelation.
The Matthew 24 theory?
Still others line up Matthew Chapter 24 with Revelation 6 and state outright that this White Horse is the Antichrist who comes in ‘peace’ (and with diplomacy) to ‘deceive’ people; but they do not present any concrete Scriptural backup for their interpretation of ‘peace’. I can’t find a suitable Scripture reference myself which would suggest that the ‘symbols’ associated with this horse, such as, ‘White, Bow, Crown’ would represent peace?! Even the dove, which is associated with peace, is not mentioned in the entire Bible as a ‘white’ dove! I also have trouble seeing ‘any symbol’ connected with this horse that would represent ‘deception’ in any way?
If you put the Red and Pale horses of Revelation 6 together you get persecution, the sword, famine and pestilence, which fits quite well with Matt 24.
Exegesis of the Chapters leading up to Chapter 6 of Revelation.
If you examine the previous chapters leading up to Revelation 6, you will see that each of the 7 churches are told to (nikaō) overcome, conquer, win the victory in righteousness (for as I have explained earlier, these three words are used in the English language for the word nikaō in the Greek). Just a few verses before the White Horse is sent out with its rider into all the earth; you find that Jesus “the Lion of Judah” had just (nikaō) – overcame, conquered, won the victory over sin death and the grave because of His righteousness in Revelation 5:5; then He immediately begins to open the first seal to send out a White Horse to (nikaō) overcome/conquer/win the victory, and to continue to overcome/conquer/win the victory in righteousness on earth, for that is where the horse is sent. There is a continuum of victory which is threaded right through from Revelation Chapter’s 1- 6 which most people have overlooked.
I will re-iterate again – if you put all the simple symbolism of the White Horse together at face value without adding or taking away from Scripture, accepting that White is White……..
You have a White Horse representing ‘Purity and Righteousness’ (which lines up with the other 18 references in the book of Revelation of the word ‘white’) whose rider ‘Brings Forth through the Bow’ – ‘Victory through the Crown’.
Had the words of Revelation 6:2 been “And he went out to “Overcome and Win the Victory” (nikaō), rather than conquer and to conquer, would people have jumped to the conclusion of a more sinister interpretation?
Below I would like to present some important background information in the lead up to the opening of the first seal which helps to view everything in CONTEXT.
I will start from Revelation 4:1 – 5:2 – Paraphrased.
When John was called up through the open door into heaven (In the Spirit) he first saw the Father sitting on the throne, being worshiped by 24 elders. In His right hand He held a scroll. Then a voice from a mighty angel asked, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll“?
I think it is astonishing that Jesus was not in Heaven when John first arrived – in fact it states in Rev: 5:4 that Jesus was nowhere to be found! He was not on the earth, He was not under the earth and He definitely was not in heaven, because NO ONE was found worthy ‘ANYWHERE’, to open the scroll, and John wept bitterly because of this – which is really strange!
Here are some important facts to consider;
In Acts 7:55 when Steven was being stoned, he saw heaven opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. So how is it that when John first entered heaven that he did not immediately see Jesus standing at the right hand of God as Steven had?
Another important fact to take into account is that in Revelation 3:21, ‘just before’ John was invited up through the open door into heaven, Jesus’ message through John to the church of Laodicea reads, ‘he who overcomes, I will grant to him to ‘sit down with my on my throne’ as I also overcame and ‘sat down’ with my Father on His Throne.
Now a very pertinent question must be asked here. Just how is it that Jesus was NOT ‘sat down’ with His Father on the throne on John’s arrival in heaven, when only a few verses earlier the text declares that Jesus had already overcome and had ‘sat down’ with His Father?
I would like to ask you now; after considering the information provided above “was John taken ‘backward’ or ‘forward’ in time when transported up to Heaven in the Spirit”?
Let’s re-examine the timeline again.
Revelation 5:4 reveals the utter hopelessness for the future of mankind, and this is graphically demonstrated by John’s distress and tears that no one could be found anywhere! Either ‘in heaven’, ‘on the earth’, or ‘under the earth’ to open the scroll, and as noted above; astonishingly EVEN JESUS is not found worthy to open the scroll at that point!
Two questions must be asked now!
1) What negated Jesus from opening scroll?
2) Where was Jesus likely to be if He could not open the Scroll?
I believe that the text ‘strongly suggests’ in Revelation 5:4 that Jesus was not able to open the scroll because He was very likely on the cross bearing our sin; as it is ‘sin and death’ that negates ‘anyone’ from opening the scroll! – As we know, sin however had no hold over Jesus because he was righteous and pure and that gave Him the power to break through into heaven and take His place on the Throne of God as the Spotless Lamb, because He triumphed over sin and death’; so then the elders in the very next sentence of Revelation 5:5 could proclaim why He the ‘Lion of Judah’ was now able to open the scroll because He was slain and had risen to life, which brought redemption for people of all nations 2,000 years ago. We know that in reality Jesus had ascended to heaven’s throne approximately 40 years before John’s vision, as this is confirmed by Stephen’s witness to this, in the book of Acts.
So what I take from this is that God starts from the very beginning in John’s Vision, taking him ‘back’ to Jesus’ death and resurrection and victorious ascension to the throne to ‘THE THINGS THAT ARE’ – Jesus is our SACRIFICED LAMB WHO ‘SAVED’ US.
Revelation 1:19 Therefore write down the things you have seen, and the things that ARE, and the things that will happen after this.
The things that take place after Jesus ascension to the throne BEGIN with the workings of the Holy Spirit and everything that happens AFTER THAT!
I must stress that the information presented above helps to arrive at the correct conclusion for the description of the White Horse of Revelation 6.
And what about the Black Horse?
Many say that it represents economic hardship and famine but is this correct?…
From Scripture I have learned that it is “The Horse of the Atonement, The Horse of the Harvest”.
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D A Cleland ©