The White Horseman
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 and see!” 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. Revelation 6 NIV
Who is this White Horseman that enters the scene at the very beginning of the Tribulation? Riding a beautiful white horse and wearing a golden crown, the White Horseman looks as if he’s the superhero everyone has been waiting for.
But Christians know he isn’t the real Prince of Peace, because Jesus Christ will return with the sound of trumpets through clouds of glory: every eye will see the return of Jesus Christ, and everyone will fall on their knees before Him. The Son of God will return with all the majesty and glory that He deserves!
So this White Horseman is not the Savior that we are looking for, even though he has the appearance of a noble hero. The White Horseman of Revelation 6 enters quietly, without fanfare. Maybe he is sneaking up on us, because all of a sudden he is just there. And this White Horseman is bent on conquest… but what is he conquering?
Some theologians think the White Horseman is the Antichrist. But I think it’s something else… something that will affect multitudes of people, just as the other Horsemen of Revelation cause great harm to multitudes of people. We must take clues from all four Horsemen, because there’s very little explanation for each.
Since the Horsemen are presented as a group of four End Times events: there are things that all four must have in common.
Black, Red & Green Horsemen
Here are the other three Horsemen who ride out at the beginning of the Tribulation:
- The second seal is opened and the Red Horseman rides forth. This Red Horseman represents increased violence and murder within society.
- The third seal is opened and the Black Horseman rides forth. This Black Horseman represents famine.
- The fourth seal is opened and the Pale Horseman (or Green Horseman) rides out to slay 1/4 of the inhabitants of the earth, by sword, famine, plague and wild beasts.
The horses are as significant as their riders: these Four Horsemen all seem to be events rather than specific people. And since the other three Horsemen cause the deaths of countless people, then it’s obvious that the White Horseman cannot be anything good.
Also, the Four Horsemen ride out in a specific sequence. They don’t ride out together, they appear one after another. The White Horseman rides first. So what is the White Horseman doing, that possibly sets the stage for the next Horseman?
Jesus Warned Us…
For false messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will give great signs so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you beforehand. Matthew 24:24-25
Jesus specifically warned us that deception will be one of the greatest dangers during end times. Almost everyone will be deceived: which means that they will be enticed away from the truth of God’s Word. Jesus Himself told us to be aware, be alert and watch out for this mass deception.
The White Horseman looks like one of the “good guys” and most people will think he is very good; but he’s not. That certainly is a good illustration of deception. The White Horseman could represent the widespread deception that Jesus predicted would happen.
In our time, what is good (according to the Bible) is being reversed so it is portrayed as evil. And what has been wicked (according to the Bible) is being portrayed as good. Good and evil are being reversed, and people are very happy with this transition. The world has developed popular new doctrines of morality which are already widely accepted: people completely believe the philosophies of this modern age. People believe that their new doctrines are much better than the Word of God.
So… if we consider that the White Horseman possibly stands for deception, does this help us to understand his appearance in Revelation? For example:
- DECEIVING. The White Horseman indicates that the Tribulation will begin quietly. The White Horseman rides when The Holy One opens the First Seal: the first event of the Tribulation. And yet, the entrance of this White Horseman is not alarming. Not to most people anyway. Only those who are dedicated to God’s Word will see and be alarmed by the Deception that sweeps the earth.
- PREVAILING. The White Horseman rides out to conquer. He is victorious in his quest, which is to deceive all the inhabitants of the earth. We have seen great shifts in morality and culture in the past 65 years or more. The changes are so dramatic that people who are old enough to remember the 1950’s and 1960’s are amazed. Some people regard these dramatic shifts as progress, whereas others are dismayed by what they perceive to be a severe decline in morality, ethics and Christian values.
- PREPARING. This widespread deception may be a way of sorting and sifting mankind to see what’s in their hearts and whether they are true to God’s word. So, the White Horseman may be laying the groundwork: he is preparing the way for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Seals (judgments, Horsemen) which will follow.
Already at Work?
The White Horseman may have been at work since the 1960’s, gradually turning people away from traditional Christian values to a new way of thinking. Two or three generations later, the new philosophies are now so widely accepted that it seems impossible to turn society back. And this all happened in a relatively short period of time: 60 years or less! The White Horseman is prevailing.
And, it is easy to believe that the second Horseman, the Red Horseman, (violence and murder) has possibly been active already because of the bizarre and brutal murders that happen every day. We see it in the news constantly as people destroy one another in unimaginable ways.
To make matters worse, our movies, TV shows and video games have glorified murder and violence. TV provides a constant string of violent murder stories on a daily basis. An entire book could be written about society’s obsession with murder as entertainment. It is distressing to see how this obsession is affecting our young people especially!
So the Red Horseman may already be among us. And it is possible that the Black Horseman (famine) is looming on the horizon, because recent headlines have been talking about the possibility of famine due to severe drought and other disasters around the world.
Signs of the Times
Jesus told his disciples that people should take notice of the Signs of the Times, and pay attention. Jesus wanted his disciples to be spiritually awake and aware. In fact, Jesus seemed to think that such “signs” should be obvious to anybody. He had sharp words for the religious leaders:
You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how is it that you don’t interpret this time? Luke 12:56 WEB
In the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can’t discern the signs of the times! An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonah. And he left them, and departed. Matthew 16:3-4 WEB
If we want to avoid the End Times deception that Jesus warned us about, we must be aware of what the Bible says. The Bible is our only guidebook through the perils that will finish this world.
The next few sections will discuss some of the “Signs of the Times” which have appeared in the past 50 years. These are common deceptions in society, which do not line up with the Bible. First of all, we need to recognize them so we won’t be confused or deceived. And, we need to know how to respond to them.