(2) And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
We would be mistaken to think that the four horses are four colored horses, for only two are colors (red, and green). Black is not a color because it is the absence of all light. White is the opposite; it contains all wavelengths of visible light. Therefore “white” is used to describe the “light” of God’s glory (Matthew 17:2). The white horse should not be too challenging to interpret, for God has used “white” before to describe purity and holiness (Isaiah 1:18; Daniel 11:35, 12:10; Revelation 3:5, 6:11, 19:14).
This is a horseman of holiness and righteousness. A vision in 19:11-21 shows a rider on a white horse too, and the rider is described as “Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” Further, “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” And if we are still unsure as to his identity “and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.” The rider in chapter nineteen is certainly Jesus, and I see no reason to accept the same conclusion for the rider on the white horse here. Remember this is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” so it is logical that the first thing we would see out of the scroll is Jesus.
The rider had a bow. A bow can mean many things, but applied to God it means judgment! With his warrior bow he judged the old world of Noah’s day; and when he promised that he would never again use his bow to judge the whole world with water, he placed his bow in the sky as a sign. This rider is coming to judge.
A crown was given to him. The crown which he wears in this vision is not a diadem (crown of rule), but a stephanos (victory wreath). This does not suggest that he is not ruler too (Matthew 28:18), but that the vision is focused on his victory.
He came out conquering, and to conquer. When he is revealed in this vision, he was already conquering. Victory is not just something he will be accomplishing, but it is something he has already accomplished too (Colossians 2:15; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14).