First Seal

When the first seal is opened, John sees a white horse having a rider with a bow in his hand. The rider is given a crown and goes forth "...conquering and to conquer." The "white horse" symbolizes hope and security for the future. Unlike the hope and security brought by the rider of the white hores in Rev. 19; 12 (Jesus); this rider brings a false hope and sense of security to the world, which will end in total destruction for those who embrace it.

Here we see one who comes in the spirit of Nimrod, the mighty hunter/ king (Gen. 10: 8 - 12), who is reputed to be the inventor of archery and a master of breaking horses. Verses 10 - 12 of that chapter state that Nimrod was the builder of eight great cities including Babel (Babylon) where the tower of Babel was built.

Ironically, the one who comes in the spirit of Babylon's founder (the antichrist), will ultimately be the one who leads the forces which will destroy that rebuilt city (17:16). The name, Nimrod, means "subdue the leopard". This points to the antichrist of Rev. 13, as the body of the kingdom which he will control is likened to that of a leopard (13:2). The Book of Daniel (chapter 7) makes it clear that the antichrist will indeed subdue that kingdom.

"...crown was given to him..."

The crown given to this rider is not a kingly crown (diadema, pronounced dee-ad'-ay-mah), but rather a garland or wreath (stef '-an-os) which was worn upon the head. In ancient times, a garland of this sort was given to the victor in public games which were usually played before the King. The garland was a symbol of excellence and signified that the person who wore it had prevailed over all of the competition. A modern day example of this type of commendation would be the winner of gold medal in the Olympics. The Apostle Paul made mention of this type of crown in I Cor. 9:24 - 25. In that passage, the race (game) was ran with the understanding that only one received the prize (the crown). The crown there is the garland of victory (stef '-an-os), not the diadem of a ruler.

This point is consistent with the idea put forth by Jesus stating, that at the beginning of the tribulation period many false christ would appear (Matt: 24:5). There is however, one coming among them who is so skilled in his craft that all competitors are paled by comparison. Though not specifically stated, it is implied that a kingly crown (diadem) will presented to the antichrist in Rev. 13: 2, when the dragon gives him the throne upon which he himself had previously sat.

In antiquity, the diadem was a blue band with white markings which was used by the Kings of Persia to bind the turban to their heads. It was the article which distinguished the king from all others who wore turbans. Some diadems also incorporated jewels and precious stones in their makeup, but were not crowns in the sense that westerners usuall think of them.

The primary difference between the the garland and the diadem is that the garland represents an honorary title accompanyed by an exhalted position. It however, lacks the civil or political authority and power which is characteristic of the diadem. There are only three instances in the Book of Revelation where the word, "crown" (diadem), the ornamental headdress of royalty, is referred to: the "seven crowns" of the dragon (12:3); the "ten crowns" of the beast (13:1); and the "many crowns" of Jesus, at His revelation (19:12). All other references to crowns in the book, are to the garland of victory.

Because the rider of this horse has proven himself to be the undisputed master of certain crafts, he is properly fitted to go forth "...conquering and to conquer." What crafts is he the master of? Deception and Warfare.

One of the principal tennants of military tactics is to probe for the weaknesses of the enemy. Once a weakness is detected, then things are set in motion to draw the enemy into that place of vunerability so he can be succesfully attacked.

One attacks his enemy at his weak point, not his strong point. These are referred to as "flanking maneuvers". The more you successfully attack the weak points of the enemy, the more you erode his strong points.

Divide and conquer is also a primary point in military tactics. If the enemy you are facing is too big or strong to meet head on, then isolate the weaker parts and attack that. By attacking the peripheral elements of the enemy, which serve as a sort of barrier of protection; one can strike at, and weaken the core of the enemy's power, because the enemy is forced to drawn out of that power to compensate for his losses. When his losses become substantial enough, and the core strength has diminished sufficiently, he can be attacked successfully head on. The beseiged are usually at a disadvantage with those who lay seige, unless those who lay seige miscalculate their enemies strengths, resolve, ect. Jesus stated that believers should be "...wise as serpents." (Matt. 10:16). In other words, we are to be aware of the tactics which Satan uses against us. The antichrist will be the undisputed master of these tactics.

The picture of such a rider and his army of horsemen is also portrayed in chapter 38 of the Book of Ezekiel; with the invasion of Israel by one known as "Gog". In chapter 39:3, God states that He will knock the bow out of Gog's left hand. In chapter 12 of this study, the possible connection between the rider of this white horse, Gog and the antichrist will be futher examined.