And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
In Scripture, horses were often symbolic of judgment. Likewise in our text the white horse symbolises the first judgment of the Tribulation Period, namely Conquest (war). Closer study will reveal that this conquest is combined with religious and political deception.
Our interest, of course, is not so much on the horse but on the horseman–the rider. Several clues in the text and subtext point to the identity of this horseman on a white horse, bearing a bow and wearing a crown. Admittedly, scholars hold various views of this rider’s identity.
We know that Christ Himself rides a white horse in 19:11–13, and some think He is also referred to here. However, it is more likely that this rider represents evil in its pale imitation of Christ.
For the Bible says, “And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mark 13:5–6).
Suffice it to say today that we should beware of deception. The myriads of needs, poverty, chaos and terror in our world today create very fertile ground for the entrance of such a deceptive “prince” (see Dan 9:27). In fact, the spirit of the antichrist is already prevalent in this Church Age (1 John 4:3). Saints beware!