One of the great mysteries of the Book of Revelation
The Apostle John received the substance of the Book of Revelation by vision from the Lord Jesus Christ himself (who was then in heaven) about 90 AD, who passed it on to John through an angel. So says the written record in chapter one, verse one.
John was so awestruck by this that he fell at the feet of Jesus as if he were dead (“slain in the spirit?”) And then the visions began to flow on and on until they filled 22 chapters of our Bibles.
There is much being taught today in the Christian community that we should take the substance of Revelation all literally – and yet how can we do that with beasts rising from the seas with seven heads and ten horns? Are these things literal? These symbolic images are like the parables of Jesus, which he intentionally obscured so that unspiritual people would not understand them (Matthew 13). And so it is with Revelation. The encouraging thing is that he told his disciples that they had the capacity to understand the parables if they would apply themselves, as they also could understand the prophecies - after they had been fulfilled.
Isaiah, in chapter 41, made much of the purpose of Bible prophecy – and it was that its purpose is to encourage the saints after they have seen the fulfillment of what was prophesied previously. Actually, that is miraculous if you think about it. How could God know all that was going to happen? And today the Arminian world is confused by that issue. So many Christians today are missing that blessing by applying the Book of Revelation mostly to the future. History can prove prophetic things, but the future of this world is not provable.
These revelatory Words from Jesus to John began with some thorough instructions and warnings from Christ to the churches of John’s day and to our time as well. After this there started the vision of heavenly things with God on his throne with a great book in his hands, which only a slain lamb could open and read. Well, Jesus did open it, and he proceeded to give the contents of it to John for him to write down and preserve. That book was obviously the contents of Revelation that we have in our Bibles today, and they are the Words of Jesus Christ, our Lord. We should not ignore nor discard them as so many Christians have.
There is much action in this marvelous book. A running sequence of prophesied events begins with the blast of the first of 7 trumpets in chapter 8. The necessary event shown by the first trumpet was the removal of Israel from the earthly kingdom of heaven and its passing to the Gentile nations. This earthly kingdom is the church, both in the Old Testament and the New. Jesus said to the Jews, "Therefore I say unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matt. 21:43).
So we have the 7 seals that were upon the book, and they would show the issues at stake and God’s methods of bringing prophesied events to pass. These seals upon the book were for the purpose of identifying the author (as seals do), keeping the scroll closed until the necessary issues were explained and giving a preview of the "coming attractions".
The first four of these seals are represented by riders on four horses of different colors. The first was white, and it represented the Word of God:
“And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he that sat on him had a bow, and a crown was given him. And he went forth conquering and to conquer” (6:2).
Our dispensational Christian friends like to suppose that this is Satan masquerading as Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. If that were the case, it would be like Billy the Kid putting on the big white hat of Hopalong Cassidy so he could rob the mail train. Doesn't work! This rider on the white horse is clearly identified as the Word of God as in chapter 19 of Revelation, "And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God".
And then it reads, "And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations."
The old writers, which I love to follow, saw the Book of Revelation as a sequence of important events through time - all in perfect order. When we get to chapter 19, this world's current events and history is almost over. The next chapter brings in the entry of Christ and resurrection. This entrance of the white horse and rider certainly coincides with the great progress the Word of God has made during the last two centuries and up until now. The two world wars were instrumental in the spread of the gospel into new fields.
The gospel leaped the Pacific Ocean and began the conversion of the Orient, first Korea then China, Japan, Myanmar (Burma) and is now beginning to surge into India and Pakistan.
The development of the great house church movement in China is well known and flourishing, even in the face of opposition and persecution. However, the progress of the Word of God in Japan is lesser known because of the absence of persecution, resulting in less news about it. But there is opposition in old Burma, and news about that surfaces from time to time.
The progress of the gospel of God has been heading westward ever since Paul's missionary journeys took place and the Holy Spirit moved him to go west into Macedonia and Greece - then Rome and farther.—so we see the gospel of Christ first taking Europe then flying on the wings of a great eagle (chapter 12) to the Americas, then over the Pacific to the Far East. Now it is almost back to Jerusalem, from whence it started. What then? Will it be Christ coming back as he said he would?
So here in Revelation the white horse goes forth conquering men’s hearts as he goes, and so the church spreads around the world as seen in Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28.
The dispensationalists note the fact that a bow is mentioned but no arrows – therefore this rider must be a fake gospel. But that argument doesn’t work. In Genesis it reads that Jacob took booty from the Canaanite tribes with his sword and bow. No mention of arrows, but one can be sure he used them.
Why is this white horse recorded first? Because the Word of God is the most powerful force in this world. The influence that Word has had on the world’s people cannot be estimated.
The wars of religion that have rocked this world through the centuries have brought into being God’s will in the formation of nations and civilizations. All of our American wars have been about that Word of God. (“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”) Our last big world war was clearly between the devil’s attempt at forming more Godless empire for himself and God’s will for Christian nations to not be captured and controlled by the antichrists of our age.
The secularists of this world do not know why wars are fought, and they think that we should stop them. People who do not read the Word of God do not know that God causes and stops wars. In fact, the second seal on this great book is a horse that is red, and represents war.
In the passage in chapter 19 the rider on the white horse (again, the Word of God) has on vesture dipped in blood. And so it has been that the Protestant wars through the Middle Ages saw millions of Bible believing people killed in their struggle against the Roman Catholic Church. And so it goes on today as Christians are being killed, especially in African and Southeast Asian countries. And so the cry still goes up to God, “How long, O Lord holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (6:10).
And so as we come down to the end of Revelation – and of this age we are living in. And we read, “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the (white) horse and against his army”.(19:19)
I believe that this army of God is none other than the army of our United States – and our Christian allies – who have prevailed over our enemies for over two centuries, and will prevail until the end and through the last great war that is coming.
- Loren Wilson (This article may be copied freely.)
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