This judgement is for them and in it Jesus is working to save every one of us. As we will soon see clearly, these seven seals start with the early church right after Jesus ascended back into heaven in 31 A.D. and end shortly after the second coming of Christ. Let us now see the contents of the first seal.
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.
2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals
The Lamb who opened the first seal clearly is Jesus our Lord who was the Sacrifice for our sins:
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
Because He redeemed us, He is "worthy to open the seals" (Rev. 5:9-12). After this, the first beast (or living creature) invited John to "come and see" and John saw a Rider on a white horse crowned and armed with a bow.
The following scripture in Revelation is about the second coming, but for our purposes it tells us that the Rider on this white horse is none other than Jesus Himself:
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
We know it is Jesus because He is called the "Faithful and True" witness (Revelation 3:14). Jesus has "many crowns" on His head since He is the "KING OF KINGS". Jesus is also called "The Word of God" and John 1:1,14 tell us that "The Word was God" and that the "Word was made flesh" and was "the only begotten of the Father...".
The horse ridden by Jesus is a symbol of Salvation, and the bow He carries represents the Word of God:
8 Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation?
9 Thy bow was made quite naked (exposed), according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.
13 Thou wentest forth (by riding) for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; ...
In addition to symbolizing salvation, a horse also represents God's people who bear the gospel of Salvation:
3 Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.
4 Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow[symbolizing The Word of God]...
God also sends His "flock" of horses (His people) into the world to witness for and about Him.
8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.
9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.
10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
The House of Judah since the cross is now spiritual Israel. We are now God's "flock" that Hesends to the world to give the message of His Word, the bow:
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Peter told the elders of the early church to "feed the flock" and be "examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:2,3). Clearly, we are God's horse today, we are spiritual Israel/Judah His flock.
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
* James here calls the Christians he is writing to "My Brethren" and "the twelve tribes".
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
We now see that the Bible clearly establishes the fact that horses in prophecy symbolize God's professed people - whether they are true to Him or not. Ancient Israel and Judah were not always true to God, yet they were still His "goodly horse". He tried over and over again for centuries to bring them back from idolatry and sin to Himself. It is the same with spiritual Israel and Judah today, or Christians - God's professed people. All humans who claim Christ in any way are collectively symbolized by a horse, so all seven seals with their four horses deal mainly with Christians through the ages. This fits perfectly with the established fact that the Pre-Advent Judgement (the one before the second coming) described in Daniel 7:8-14 and Revelation chapters 4 and 5 deal with God's people. This shows that judgement starts with God's people:
1 Peter 4:17:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
After this Pre-Advent judgement determines the fate of all Christians, the lost are judged in the next two Judgements. The one that goes on for 1,000 years immediately after Jesus' second coming (sometimes called the Post-Advent or Millennial Judgement) in Revelation 20:4-6 is the one where the saints will Judge angels and the world (1 Corinthians 6:3). The last and final judgement is the one where all the lost along with Satan and all his fallen angels are cast into the lake of fire. It is described in Revelation 20:10-15. It is sometimes called the "White Throne judgment" because God on His White Throne appears to proceed over it.
Up to this point, we can see that the warfare the white horse fights is not a literal war between countries. This first seal is showing in symbolic language how the early church went forth to the whole world and conquered with the Gospel. Many sick were healed, many came to know Jesus and the power of God was with them. Jesus the rider rode on His church the people to give the message of salvation to the world at that time. This is why Paul said in Colossians 1:23 that in his day "the gospel ... was preached to every creature under heaven". They didn't need the help of any government but did this only by and with Christ. Their weapon was the Words of the Gospel.
2 Cor. 10:3,4:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
The arrows shot from the Bow - the Word of God - represents the Words we use to preach the Gospel. The Bible likens words to arrows - be they good words or evil words. Speaking of evil words here is how the Bible describes them:
2 Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:
3 Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:
4 That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.
Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.
A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.
So here we see that arrows are words. Shot from Jesus' bow - the Bible - these arrows of the Gospel are good words:
The arguments of the apostles alone, though clear and convincing, would not have removed the prejudice that had withstood so much evidence. But the Holy Spirit sent the arguments home to hearts with divine power. The words of the apostles were as sharp arrows of the Almighty, convicting men of their terrible guilt in rejecting and crucifying the Lord of glory.
The white you see on God's people (symbolized by the white horse) and on the Rider Jesus the Lamb, represents purity and freedom from sin.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
The people in the early church were bold and confident. They saw the power of God first hand knowing they were made white - clean and free from sin. This is the main reason why God could trust them with the power of the early rain to do what they did. This White Horse in the first seal corresponds to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7 which lasted from 31 A.D. to 100 A.D. Here is how Jesus described Ephesus - who is also the White Horse:
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Today, God's modern horse - spiritual Israel - is sick. We are full of sins and lack the power of God. That is why nothing seems to be done, but there will come a change. The spirit of the early church will be revived to a much greater degree before Jesus comes so the sin problem can forever be solved.
In the days of the apostles the Christian believers were filled with earnestness and enthusiasm. So untiringly did they labor for their Master that in a comparatively short time, notwithstanding fierce opposition, the gospel of the kingdom was sounded to all the inhabited parts of the earth. The zeal manifested at this time by the followers of Jesus has been recorded by the pen of inspiration for the encouragement of believers in every age. Of the church at Ephesus, which the Lord Jesus used as a symbol of the entire Christian church in the apostolic age, the faithful and true Witness declared:
“I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.” Revelation 2:2, 3.
At first the experience of the church at Ephesus was marked with childlike simplicity and fervor.
What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost? The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost parts of the inhabited world. As the disciples proclaimed the message of redeeming grace, hearts yielded to the power of this message. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were reconverted. Sinners united with believers in seeking the pearl of great price. Some who had been the bitterest opponents of the gospel became its champions. The prophecy was fulfilled, “He that is feeble ... shall be as David; and the house of David ... as the angel of the Lord.” Zechariah 12:8. Every Christian saw in his brother a revelation of divine love and benevolence. One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.
“With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33. Under their labors were added to the church chosen men, who, receiving the word of truth, consecrated their lives to the work of giving to others the hope that filled their hearts with peace and joy. They could not be restrained or intimidated by threatenings. The Lord spoke through them, and as they went from place to place, the poor had the gospel preached to them, and miracles of divine grace were wrought.
Finally, the rider has a crown on His head. This crown symbolizes eternal life and also reigning with Christ as kings. The early church clearly was crowned with eternal life. They will have this at the resurrection and so must we.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
1 Peter 5:4:
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
2 Timothy 4:7,8:
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
You see crowns everywhere promised or appearing - always representing eternal life.
- The 24 elders have crowns (Revelation 4:4,10).
- We have crowns laid up for us all, but let no one take it (Revelation 3:11).
- God's pure church - the woman of Revelation 12 - has a crown on her head.
- We fight the good fight of faith to obtain this incorruptible crown (1 Cor. 9:25).
- Finally, we see the crown on the items of the sanctuary on the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10,11), the Table of Shewbread (Exodus 25:23-25) and on the golden altar of incense (Exodus 30:1-3).
All of this is Christ's way of doing everything to give us this crown of eternal life in glory. Let each us be that white horse that fulfills the mission of the Rider on it and we can be more than conquerors.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The early church - this white horse - fulfilled these characteristics during the years 31 A.D. to 100 A.D. This horse is parallel to the Church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-3.