Came out Conquering and to Conquer
“Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.”
Enter the first horsemen, riding upon a white horse. The rider possess a bow, a crown is given to him and he came out conquering and to conquer.
Came out Conquering?
The majority of pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers declare that this rider of the white horse, is the Antichrist. Question: based on what we have read up to this point, using the CAGED method, considering the context, consulting our Old Testament tutor, analyzing the aspirations of the author to his audience and considering the genre, do we see this rider as the Antichrist? Let’s set aside, for the moment, our presuppositions–what we’ve been taught–and recall to mind our revealing of Revelation. Up to this point–imagining the imagery we’ve seen–in our minds, who do we see? Let go of this text for now, for it clouds our judgement. But focus only on what we’ve discussed thus far. Remember reading (or waltzing through) Revelation 1, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, the elder statesman, the first and the last, the ruler of kings on Earth. The one who holds the seven stars and walks among the seven golden lampstands. The one who sees all and exhorts the seven churches. The one who receives praise from all created things and is worshiped by uncountable angels, of which he created. The entire cosmos, from the outer reaches of the yet unknown universe (“THE STARS ALSO” -Gen. 2:16) to the infinitesimal particles no electron microscope can detect, proclaims his glory and he alone, is worthy to break this first seal; and it’s The Antichrist? It very well may be the Antichrist, but it certainly does not fit the narrative yet.
Let’s discuss our presuppositions for a moment. The late, great Billy Graham, who: is still the greatest evangelist of our time even in death; claimed this was the Antichrist because he only had one crown. Billy Graham claims that because the rider of the white horse here, has but one crown, whereas the rider of the white horse in Revelation 19:11, has many crowns, or, diadems, that the latter is Christ but the former must be the Antichrist. Possible, perhaps, maybe even plausible, but consider the lion and the lamb. Two very different images, contained in the context, that both represent Christ. Let us now return to the text, remembering that Christ has made us to be a kingdom; what is the rider’s goal and implied accomplishment? “He came out conquering, and to conquer.” If the Antichrist is supposed to mimic Christ, why then only one crown? Is it to give us a hint towards the fact that this is not Christ but the Antichrist? Would it not be more beneficial to us if the text mentioned a little crown, or a broken crown? Maybe the horse could have been off-white, so that we know this is the Antichrist and not the true Christ. Does the Bible say that the Antichrist mimics Jesus Christ? We’ll get back to this.
My point is simple, one crown verses many crowns is not an unbreakable argument. In fact, given the genre and imagery thus far, I believe it to be a fairly weak argument. We need to know what is written about the Antichrist. Luckily for us, John is the only Biblical writer to ever write the words antichrist and antichrists…but it wasn’t in Revelation. That is correct, the name, or word, antichrist, is never used in Revelation. But it is John, and only John that uses this term, in his first and second epistles. In his first, we read “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This IS the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” Do we see a rider of a white horse here? Do we see a conquer in this description? The rider of the white horse goes out conquering and to conquer. If the Antichrist is a denier, how then does he mimic Jesus? Again, we’ll come back to this.
Another argument made is that it is Christ that breaks the seal; it could not be Christ on the horse. As if he couldn’t be two places at once. This position, which denies Christ’s omnipresence, also limits Christ’s actions. It leaves him holding the scroll indefinitely, while each event that corresponds to the breaking of its respective seal, takes place. Bear with me and with my foolishness for a brief few sentences, please. Because I see this argument as such utter foolishness, I thought I would fight foolishness with foolishness. I know it is a terrible way to debate, but I am willing to try because I think it may help. The rider can’t be Jesus because he’s the one breaking the seal, is the argument made. We have limited his power and presence with this statement. Does this mean Jesus was alarmed by the rider of the white horse? Did Jesus think, “oops,” when he broke the seal, or, “I didn’t see that coming?” The point of this silly soliloquy, is for us to remember that no matter who the rider is or represents, Jesus is the one who broke the seal. Therefore, it was ordained by him.
Another argument that the rider is the Antichrist and not Christ is that the rider carries a bow and not a sword, Jesus never uses a bow, a bow always represents evil, one author states. Yes, Jesus does return with a sword in his mouth, like a pirate, and kills his enemies. It is also said that the Antichrist has a bow. Could this be the argument that persuades us? Not at all, it’s circular reasoning. A blatant abuse of one’s presuppositions. The rider must be the Antichrist because he has a bow. Therefore the Antichrist has a bow. Therefore, therefore, this is the Antichrist. No where else do we see the Antichrist with a bow. Furthermore, Jesus uses a bow. The author of the argument simply didn’t use the CAGED method–he didn’t consult our Old Testament tutor. Twice in Zechariah alone we see the image of God’s bow. Chapter 9, a Messianic chapter: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth (conquer). As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that l I will restore to you double. For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece…” And chapter 10; “From him shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler— o all of them together.” Again, he’s a conquerer.
Does, or better yet, can the Antichrist mimic the true Christ, Jesus? Yes, he’s the anti-type. Much like Christ was the anti-type to Adam as Paul states in Romans 5. Not so fast! There is little to no resemblance between Christ and Adam. Anti-type, like Antichrist, indicates opposite characteristics. The Antichrist, as John describes, denies Christ and the Father. A proof text used to demonstrate that the Antichrist mimics Christ is said to be Matthew 24, verses 4+5. Using the CAGED method, we have read Matthew 24, often. This author clearly hasn’t read my missives concerning taking our vitamins. No Vitamin C and certainly no Vitamin E. He claims that the rider in Revelation 6:2 is the Antichrist. He must be because he has a bow (debunked) and because he mimics Christ. More circular reasoning. We’ll take our vitamins–notice while remembering: “And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” No, the Antichrist denies Christ, he doesn’t mimic him, he may preform signs and wonders, but he doesn’t mimic Jesus, he can’t, he is, or, they are, the Antichrist. By definition, they are opposite. One last example: the rider must be the Antichrist because it is an individual (this is a real argument, I don’t understand it myself, but the claim is that it is one human being). Problem: “Many will come,” and “many antichrists have come.”
Jesus came, saw, and totally kicked butt. He’s the conqueror of the Old Testament. He’s the huge eternal God. Maybe this rider is the Antichrist. But we certainly can’t say that yet. Stay tuned though, we’ll try to determine who the next horsemen is. Maybe it will be Santa Claus!
Keep the faith, God is the Boss.