Friday, October 28, 2011
On Revelation--The Rider on the White Horse is not Antichrist
I found out that I have a dissident view of Revelation, at least in some Evangelical circles.
During a Bible study on Revelation, I found out that many resources used by others describe the rider on a white horse mentioned in Revelation 6:2 as Antichrist. I have long been under the impression that this rider is none other than Jesus Christ himself.
The text states:
And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow, ans a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer (KJV).
Having looked up a number of online resources, I note the following reasons why this figure is associated with Antichrist:
1. He is accompanied by riders who represent war, famine, and death.
2. The passage of the seven seals speaks of the wrath of God against the earth.
Yet, against this, I note that the rider on the white horse appears again:
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. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many diadems, and he hath a name written which no one knoweth but he himself. And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood, and his name is called the Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven followed him upon white horses clothed in fine linen, white and pure. And out of his mouth proceedeth 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 of the wrath of God, he Almighty. And he hath on his garment and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:11-16)
How this figure can be anyone other than Jesus Christ is beyond me. The slaying of the wicked by words that are weapons echoes Isaiah 11:4; smiting and ruling the nations with a rod of iron echoes Psalm 2:9. Clearly this is the fulfillment of all of Israel's Messianic hopes of defeating the oppressing nations!
As for Jesus' association with the terrors of the other horsemen of the apocalypse and the trumpets and bowls of God's wrath following Revelation 6:2, this can be understood as comforting a persecuted and pressured church by reminding them that, as Matthew's Gospel assured them, all authority in heaven and earth, including over the terrors the shatter humanity, is held by the risen Jesus (Matthew 28:18). In these disasters, the hope of wicked men perish, but all ultimately ends with the Lord vindicating his people.
The 20th century was one in which contempt for Christ and his Gospel was widespread. It was also an age of uncritical faith in man-made institutions and programs. Yet the dreams of peace unleashed by a League of Nations in 1920 and a United Nations in 1945 have been illusory. The confidence of most "thinking people" (a thundering herd of independent minds, perhaps?) in so-called "scientific socialism" proved a mockery, and a very bloody one after the political murders of over 150 millions in peacetime. These are indeed horrible things to contemplate, but could this not be a case of our Lord shattering like earthen pots the kings of the earth who have gathered themselves against him (Psalm 2)? Is this not a call for us to reconsider the claims of our Lord, as many indeed are doing even now?
Yes, it is terrifying to consider the hand of our loving God in the vicissitudes of history. This may well lead many to hate God all the more. But let us not forget the garment sprinkled in blood in which our Lord Jesus appears. It is not the blood of his enemies, but his own sacrificial blood which he shed to atone for our sins when he, the righteous one, died for the unrighteous to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18). In that is the true refuge from the coming wrath.