When the living creature says, 'Come', is he speaking to John, or the horseman?

The NASB could mean the creature is calling to the horsman to come - Rev 6:1

Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come."

But the KJV could mean the creature is telling John to come and see - Rev 6:1

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.

3 Answers 3


The aged apostle John is identified in the fourth verse of the Book of the Revelation as the writer of it: "John, to the seven churches..." This accords with verse eleven where the glorified Jesus Christ instructs John to write down what he is given to see in vision: "What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches..." Nothing has changed by chapter 6 verse 1. The whole account is a continuum of the vision given to John, who also hears words, and sounds that must also be written down by him.

John writes in 6:1, "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the sound of thunder, one of the four living creatures saying, 'Come and see'."

At that point, the Lamb (the glorified Christ) had taken from God's hand a book sealed with seven seals. This was done in heaven and John saw the event in vision. But he had to "Come and see" what the opening of the first seal would reveal, for it had not yet been revealed. This logically means that it could not be the rider on the white horse who had to 'Come and see', for the rider on the white horse was the object of what was seen, once the first seal was opened.

The KJV makes perfect sense, and simple logic shows that John was invited to "Come and see", in order that he could then write down what was seen once the first seal was opened. The living creature was speaking to the aged apostle John.


As the OP has already noted, the text of Rev 6 is disputed in many places in the first 8 verses. For simplicity, I will assume the text of the UBS5 is correct. [For details of the disputed passages and which MSS support each of the various readings, see UBS5.]

It is true that the command "Come" [ Ἔρχου ] could be directed to either the horse and its horseman, or, John as observer. Both are equally grammatically possible. [I also note that if the Byzantine text of "Come and See" is correct, then it makes the recipient of the command almost certainly, John.] However, we note the following:

  • all the conversation in the immediately preceding text (Rev 5) is between the heavenly participants and does not include John.
  • John is only spoken to by either his attending angel (Rev 17:7, 15, 19:9, 22:6), Jesus (Rev 1:10), or one of the 24 elders (Rev 7:13-17). That is, John is never spoken to by God or one of the four living creatures, unless Rev 6 is an exception.

Presumably, because of the influence of the Byzantine text of "Come and See", most commentators believe that the command is directed to John as observer (eg Albert Barnes).

Further, if John is instructed to "Come" he is never recorded as obeying the command. By contrast, each time on of the living creatures orders "Come", a horse and horseman obeys and comes out.

Note the comments of the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

Come and see—One oldest manuscript, B, has "And see." But A, C, and Vulgate reject it. Alford rightly objects to English Version reading: "Whither was John to come? Separated as he was by the glassy sea from the throne, was he to cross it?" Contrast the form of expression, Re 10:8. It is much more likely to be the cry of the redeemed to the Redeemer, "Come" and deliver the groaning creature from the bondage of corruption. Thus, Re 6:2 is an answer to the cry, went (literally, "came") forth corresponding to "Come." "Come," says Grotius, is the living creature's address to John, calling his earnest attention. But it seems hard to see how "Come" by itself can mean this. Compare the only other places in Revelation where it is used, Re 4:1; 22:17. If the four living creatures represent the four Gospels, the "Come" will be their invitation to everyone (for it is not written that they addressed John) to accept Christ's salvation while there is time, as the opening of the seals marks a progressive step towards the end (compare Re 22:17). Judgments are foretold as accompanying the preaching of the Gospel as a witness to all nations (Re 14:6-11; Mt 24:6-14). Thus the invitation, "Come," here, is aptly parallel to Mt 24:14. The opening of the first four seals is followed by judgments preparatory for His coming.

Similarly, the Cambridge commentary offers this:

Come and see The two last words are almost certainly spurious here and in Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:7 : the cry is only “Come!” in all four cases. Who then is to come? Some say the received reading, originally no doubt a gloss, is a correct gloss—the Seer is to draw near. But the word is quite different from the “Come hither” of Revelation 17:1, Revelation 21:9 : also there is no sign that he does draw near or has need to do so, and if he has done so once, why is he bidden to do it thrice again? Others take it to be a summons to the Horseman who in fact does come: and this at least is in harmony with the context, and makes good sense, and applies equally to the opening of the first four seals where the same expression occurs.


If Revelation 6:1 the word "Come!" (Strong #2064) should be "Come and See!", then its use in 6:3; 6:5 and 6:7 should be the same. Then it would be weird why John had to come every time the living creature opened a seal.

In the preceding chapter 5, though John was not told where he was standing, but he saw and he heard everything that were ongoing, and emotionally attached when he thought no one was found worthy to open the scroll (Rev 5:4). If he could see and heard from where he was, it was odd for the living creature to command him to come as if he was not able to see those horses when the seals were opened.

It may be possible an error had been made to link the last word "Come!" of 6:1 with the words begin in 6:2;

1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!”

2 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. (NIV)

To my understanding, there is no punctuation in its original Greek text, and therefore if "Come" and "I looked" read together, it becomes "Come and see".

So it was just "Come!" (Strong #2064(5737) in all 6:1,3,5,7), the living creature was commanding the horsemen.

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