The Rider On the
Image: Artist Unknown
1. Then I watched as the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say in a thunderous voice, "Come!"
2. So I looked and saw a white horse, and its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he rode out conquering and to conquer.
The rider on the white horse is the Gospel Truth of Jesus Christ, and this Truth goes out to conquer lies and sin and the power of the devil in the last days, the days since Jesus died and was resurrected, and the days since his disciples were first sent out to spread the Good News, and John was shown the visions of Revelations, which said, "And this is what must happen after these things." 4:1
Many people believe that because the other three horsemen bring bad things, then the white horse and rider must also bring tidings of evil things, and therefore, the white horse and rider must represent false religion or even the Pope. I don't believe this.
A crown goes to a king, and here it is the "king of all truth": the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel alone can match the other three horsemen in might, with the power to save or to destroy human beings throughout the entire world. No other religion can do this, because only Jesus is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and only his kingdom is eternal. "Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
The Holy Spirit was given to "convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment,"John 16:8 and as Martin Luther said in the 1500's, "The Word is to pass through the world to attack it so that it can be called a convicting of the world, not only of a few, of one or two races and countries, but of both Jew and Gentile, the learned, the wise and saints. . . *
Since an arrow in Scripture is the symbol of words that sink deep into the heart, then the Word of God, and the words of Biblical preaching by the children of God, are the constant arrows flying in the world to convict the world and to make war against it.
Psalm 45:3-5 says: Strap your sword at your side, O Mighty warrior; appear in your majesty and splendor. In your splendor ride forth in victory on behalf of truth, humility, and justice; may your right hand show your awesome deeds. Your arrows pierce the hearts of the king's foes; the nations fall beneath your feet.
Psalm 18:14: He shot his arrows and scattered the foes. . .
Psalm 144:6: Flash forth your lightning and scatter them; shoot your arrows and rout them.
Zechariah 9:14: The Lord will appear over them, and his arrows will go forth like lightning, and the Lord will blow the trumpet, and march in the storm winds of the south.
The other three horsemen may have been ready since the beginning, but the white horse and rider were not ready until the Gospel of Jesus was ready to go out into the world. Only at that time could the four ride out together. If the white horse and rider were false religions, it could have gone out into the world long before Jesus died and was resurrected. Therefore, I am convinced that the Gospel is the reason for the timing of the four horsemen riding out together. For Jesus said, "Do not think I have come to bring peace to the world, but a sword." The world's resistance to Jesus and the Gospel would, and does, create war and economic injustice and poverty and death leading to hell.
To the one who accepts the Word of God, the arrow that sinks into their heart is for their eternal good; but to the person who rejects the Word of God, the arrow is deadly, leading to their eternal damnation. As Martin Luther says again, "If they will not accept this preaching, it shall be efficacious to their condemnation, and they shall stumble, fall, and plunge into eternal ruin. So it shall prove a power unto life and salvation to believers, and a preaching and power unto death to others, as St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:16." *
As well, consider Acts 2:37: "When the people heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, 'What shall we do?'" The arrow of God's Word, spoken through Peter, pierced their heart, their conscience, and they wanted to respond with repentance from their unbelief. This is the rider in white, and his arrows, going out conquering and to conquer; for Jesus had already conquered the devil and our sins, and from then on, his Gospel rode out to conquer the hearts of all who would hear and believe, down to the last day. The verse in Revelations does not say that the Rider in White goes out trying to conquer, but to conquer; and the Gospel of Jesus will indeed conquer every human soul, whether for eternal life or eternal death.
The beginning of Revelations concerns what Jesus said to the seven churches, and it also bears out that he intends for his Gospel, as lived out through his people, to conquer sin and death by their faith; and they are described as having white robes, and he instructs them, "See that no one takes your crown."
A further reason I believe the white horse and rider represent the Gospel is because I have noticed that in Scripture, there are several instances in which a grouping of four things is described, in which one of the four in the group is Jesus himself. Such as:
1. Three men came to visit Abraham, making four men including Abraham, and one of the four was Jesus.
2. The king of Babylon threw three men into the furnace, but he saw four men in the flames, and one of them was Jesus.
3. The cherubim had four faces, one that "looked like a man", as in the Son of Man, as in Jesus.
4. The four horsemen of Revelations, one is white (purity), with a crown (kingship), who goes out conquering (by the Gospel of Faith), and this would be Jesus.
*(Martin Luther: 115 Sermons, 21st Century American English, Entirely Jesus Press) See.