Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the first four seals with the four horses and the four riders (6:1-8).
Revelation 6:1 says, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, Come.” The opening of the seven seals by the Lamb transpired immediately after Christ’s ascension to the heavens. Through His incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, Christ is fully qualified in His ascension to open the mystery of God’s economy which is contained in the seven seals. Because God’s economy concerning the creatures is contained in the seven seals, the four living creatures are interested in announcing the opening of the first four seals respectively.
The first four seals comprise four horses with their riders in a four-horse race. All four riders are not real persons but personified things. It is evident that the rider of the second horse, the red horse, is war (v. 4); the rider of the third horse, the black horse, is famine (v. 5); and the rider of the fourth horse, the pale horse, is death (v. 8). According to historical facts, the rider of the first horse, the white horse, must be the gospel, not, as some interpret, Christ or Antichrist. Immediately after Christ’s ascension, these four things—the gospel, war, famine, and death—began to run like riders on four horses and will continue until Christ comes back. Beginning with the first century, the gospel has been spreading throughout all these twenty centuries. War has also been proceeding simultaneously. War always causes famine, and famine issues in death. All these will continue until the end of this age.
The rider of the white horse is the preaching of the gospel. White signifies clean, pure, just, and approvable. The white horse is a symbol of the preaching of the gospel, which is clean, pure, just, and approvable both to men and to God.
Some have said that the rider on the white horse is Christ, and others have claimed that the rider is the Antichrist. After much study, we learned that neither of these concepts is right. In interpreting the Bible we must follow the principle. The principle here is that the riders on the four horses are not persons but personified things. The rider on the second horse is war, the rider on the third is famine, and the rider on the fourth is death. None of these are persons but rather are personified things. Following this principle, the rider of the first horse must also be a personified thing. Therefore, the rider can be neither Christ nor Antichrist. According to the principle, this rider must also be a personification. After much consideration, we have seen that this rider must be the preaching of the gospel.
Verse 2 says, “I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he who sits on it having a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering and that he might conquer.” A bow is for fighting with an arrow. But here there is a bow without an arrow. This indicates that the arrow has already been shot to destroy the enemy, and the victory has been won for the constitution of the gospel of peace. Now the fighting is over, and the gospel of peace is proclaimed in a peaceful way. On the cross, the arrow was shot into the heart of the enemy, the battle was fought, and the victory was won. Therefore, the bow without an arrow is a declaration that the war is over and that the victory has been won.
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