Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

After reading this question Whose blood is on the white rider's robe? my attention was drawn to another white horse and rider that we read about in Revelation 6:2 (NIV),

I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

In the previous question,it was established that the rider on the white horse answers to Jesus Christ.One of the answers "highlights" this in the conclusion.

In Revelation 19, Christ is pictured as already having started His judgment upon the nations (which is why His robe is already dipped in blood). Isaiah 63 answers the "where" and "how" His garments became bloodied—in the judgment done in Edom. Then Joel 3 and Zech 14 prophesy of the same event as Rev 19, which is not in Edom, but near Jerusalem in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, but is another winepress trodding event during Christ's second coming.

When we view the two riders on the white horses,one will note that there is "striking similarities," (one being the crown that the rider receives at the start of his mission), but some believe that the rider in question answers to the "Anti-Christ," and others believe that he answers to Jesus Christ.

From the symbolism and scripture available to the reader, in relation to the rider on the white horse,how does one interpret this to reveal the true identity of this rider.

share|improve this question
possible duplicate of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Mark Edward Jul 1 '14 at 15:18
up vote 0 down vote accepted

To answer this question,

What one has to remember is the blood on the robe that the rider on the white horse wears,is symbolic and the verse is to be interpreted symbolically(taken from here)

Since what the rider wears is symbolic(or figurative-representitive of another reality), therefore the horse he rides on is also figurative.

Both riders ride on "White" horses; "white" is to be understood as the color of purity,

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb

A "white" horse is a horse that carries truth which is pure. Since the "Antichrist" or Beast of Rev. 12:3 is red,

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

It can be inferred that the "Beast" of Rev. 13:1 is also red(some translations use scarlet), since the only difference between the 2 Beasts is the placement of their crowns.

Therefore, it can be concluded that the 1st rider is not the Antichrist. Another passage which also supports this truth is from Isa. 1:18,

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

The question therefore becomes, "If it is not the Antichrist, then who is it"?

Sometime ago I recorded an answer to this question in which I quoted an author who described 4 different methods(or hermeneutics) of eschatological interpretation. Depending on which one you use, will depend on the answer(or non-answer) you have. I will discount both the Idealist and Preterist/Covenant Theology interpretation for this discussion, because neither remotely suggests the 1st rider as being the "Antichrist".

Dispensational eschatology has mostly been attributed as seeing the 1st rider as the "Antichrist". A main expositor for Dispensationalism writes,

“From what has already been plainly found, the time here is that of the earliest stage of Antichrist’s times. It has been learned from 2 Thess. 2:7-8 that his open revelation succeeds the removal from the earth of the restraining agency of the overcoming saints. And from Dan. 7:8, 20; 8:9; and 11:40-43, it is made plain that Antichrist first conducts in the earth a period of sweeping, victorious warfare. The field of conflict will be the territories of the restored northern (Syrian), southern (Egyptian), and eastern (Mesopotamian) kingdoms of the old Grecian Empire. The figure of a white horse, and of his rider seated erect with drawn bow and with victor’s wreath upon his brow, is the favourite oriental symbol of the military conqueror” (taken from A Revelation of Jesus Christ by John F. Walvoord)

Dispensationalism MUST make this rider the "Antichrist" because it sees the church as being raptured after the last letter to the churches in Rev. 3,

After chapter 3 of the book of Revelation, the church is not mentioned by the apostle John until Revelation 19:7-11. It is important to understand the underlying reason for this. The most reliable reason is that the church will be raptured to the Heaven before the opening of the "Seven Seals" in Revelation 6. That is to say, the church will not undergo the 7 years Tribulation Period. In this connection, it is worthwhile to examine the reasons for the church will not undergo the tribulation period before proceeding to chapter 4 of the book of Revelation. For more information in this topic, please read Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, A Study in Biblical Eschatology, Zondervan

Dwight Pentecost is another major proponent of Dispensationalism.

To summerize Dispensationalism's view, the "white" horse cannot be 'truly white' since, 1) It is not Christ 2) It comes after the church is Raptured

This is because their hermeneutic forbids them any other consideration.

Another view is "Historicist", and basically states that eschatology 'historically' unfolds throughout the centuries. There is much disagreement as to what the various symbologies mean, so it is not the most popular; but I believe it is the most honest, as it doesn't 'bunch-up' all the interpretations of Revelations at the beginning of the church age, as Preterism/Covenant Theology does, nor does it 'bunch-up' all the interpretations of Revelations beyond Chapter 3 into the last 7 years, as Dispensationalism does. It sees significant prophetic fulfillment throughout church history, therefore the focus is not on "which end of the spectrum" but revelation-an unfolding of God's plan.

So to answer the question, "Who is the rider", let's examine the whole verse,

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. 2And 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.(Rev. 6:1-2)

The Lamb opens the seal, so it stands that the Lamb is not riding the horse-we see the Lamb(Word of God) in Rev. 19:11. But the "rider is riding a white horse", who is it?

Since it is figurative, it is representitive of another reality; the 'white horse' is a 'vehicle' for the righteous to ride on, and that 'vehicle' is the Gospel.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.(Matt. 24:14)

The word "Witness",

'witness'μαρτύριον, μαρτυρίου, τό (μάρτυρ (cf. μάρτυς)), (from Pindar, Herodotus down), the Sept. for עֵד, עֵדָה, more often for עֵדוּת (an ordinance, precept); most frequently for מועֵד (an assembly), as though that came from עוּד to testify, whereas it is from יָעַד to appoint; testimony(Thayer's Lexicon)

is a ordinance and testimony, by which the world is judged. Therefore, the gospel must go out, so that God's righteous judgements apply, or men would not know from what they are being judged. But who is the 'rider' and why does he have a 'bow' and why is a crown given to him?

When Constantine said,"In hoc signo vinces"(under this sign, conquer), this rider went forth, conquering, and to conquer. It 1st swept the Western European Nations, then throughout the whole earth(Asia, Africa, Mid-East, North America, South America) where governments 1st conquered, then sent forth missionaries to evangelize the people. Pres. McKinley said in 1903,

"When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them. . . And one night late it came to me this way. . .1) That we could not give them back to Spain- that would be cowardly and dishonorable; 2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany-our commercial rivals in the Orient-that would be bad business and discreditable; 3) that we not leave them to themselves-they are unfit for self-government-and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's wars; and 4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died(from here)

McKinley was only representitive of the previous world rulers, who saw it their duty to, "Christianize" the worlds they conquered, and rule until they did. Thus we see the 'bow' as an weapon of long distance sending, whereas the 'crown', of which ONLY this rider wears, denotes governance.

What is important to see is the rider didn't necessarily wear white(doesn't say what he wore). But HIS PURPOSE(the White Horse), was to "conquer" to enable the Gospel, and that purpose has been fuflfilled.

share|improve this answer
@Bagpipes You'll never guess who I robbed the 1st quote from ;>) – Tau Jul 1 '14 at 11:35
I would say you borrowed it.Proverbs 27:17 – Bagpipes Jul 1 '14 at 11:42
@Bagpipes Con su permiso? – Tau Jul 1 '14 at 13:53

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.