THE FIRST RIDER
By Rev. Adauto Rezende
Who is he?
What do the Scriptures reveal about this man’s character? What is his identity? Jesus never told his mission to his disciple until they discovered who he was.1 As it was important to the apostles to understand Jesus’s identity and then, his mission, it is also crucial to learn the first rider’s personality and them, his assignment.
1. A false messiah
He is portrayed as one who comes as the true Messiah on a white horse; however, he is an impostor.
“I looked, and there before me was a white horse.” Revelation 6: 2
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse.” Revelation 19: 11
Jesus had warned the Jewish leaders of his time that as they rejected him, the true Messiah, their descendants like them, would accept a false Messiah:
“I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.” John 5: 43
This man, inspired by Satan, his master, has the same desire. Both want to be like God:
“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Isaiah 14: 12-15 (See Ezekiel 28: 14-17))
2. A master of intrigue
The prophet Daniel (about 600 BC) exposed much information about the first horseman. We will read a few verses from the prophetic book and then we will get some answers about his personality. Daniel called this false-messiah a master of intrigue and he gave astonishing revelations about this individual, his political power, his hatred toward God’s people, his satanic character and hunger to be adored. However, the true Messiah will overcome this evil man.
“I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them,” Daniel 7: 20-21
A horn in the Bible is the symbol of power. Then, ten horns are ten kings or world authorities. In these verses, Daniel spoke that one of the horns (or king) will appear in greater power than the others world leaders, with a self-centered vision and speech that will make the world submit to him. John said that he is coming to conquer.
In the next verses, Daniel (apendix 2) will give more details, about his character and goals as well. Let’s read it:
“In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” Daniel 8: 23-25
3. Man of lawlessness who desires to be God
The apostle Paul gives another identity to the horseman
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” II Thessalonians 2: 3-4
The prophet Daniel spoke about the lawless one’s kingdom as the most horrific and oppressing government ever seen on earth:
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.” Daniel 7: 7
4. The antichrist
The apostle John in his epistles (I and II John), presented another name for the horseman of Revelation: the antichrist. Why did he get such a name? It is because; he is Christ’s adversary, the exact opposite of Jesus. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, he is the master of intrigue; Jesus is the Son of God, he is the son of the devil; Jesus is love, he is hatred; Jesus is the Savior of the world, he is a destroyer of humanity; Jesus is the Good Shepherd, he is a thief; Jesus is the light of the world, he is the power of darkness; Jesus is the truth, he is a liar; Jesus is the way to heaven, he is the way to hell; Jesus is the life, he is death; Jesus is the door to heaven, he is the door to hell. The true Messiah is Jesus; he is King, Priest and Prophet. The antichrist is a false priest, a false king and I false prophet.
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” I John 4: 2-3
5. The beast
“So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” Revelation 13: 4
Another title for the first horseman in Revelation is “The beast.” It comes from the Greek word (θηρίον -“thērion”). It is mentioned 19 times in the New Testament. Interestingly, one of the passages that mention this Greek word is in the book of Acts and it is translated as “viper” or a venomous creature.
“But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper (“thērion”) came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand.” Acts 28: 3-4
That is a good illustration of this individual’s character: a poisoned snake. The animal neurotoxic venom tends to act more quickly, attacking the nervous system and stopping nerve signals from getting through to the muscles. This means paralysis, starting at the head, moving down the body until, if untreated, the diaphragm is paralyzed and the victim can't breathe. The beast will paralyze and control the world with his neurotoxic demonic speech. The mark of his fangs will be on the forehead or on the right hand of billions that will finish in hell with him.
Let’s summarize the false-messiah’s designations:
False messiah (horseman on a white horse – Revelation 6: 1-2)
A conspirator and crooked legislator (man of intrigue – Daniel 8: 23-25)
The cruellest person ever lived on earth (Man of lawlessness – Daniel 7:7; II Thessalonians 2: 2-3)
An adversary of Jesus (antichrist – I John 4: 2-3)
A cobra character type (The beast – Revelation 13: 4)
A powerful military leader (He will cause astounding devastation/ conquer - Daniel 8: 23-25; Revelation 6: 2)
To God be all the glory!
1. Matthew 16: 13-16-21
Jesus identity “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” …Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus mission… “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
2. A king of fierce countenance, and a master of intrigue, shall stand up; meaning Antiochus; as is mostly agreed, both by Jewish and Christian interpreters.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes, ((215 BC—164), Greek: “God Manifest”) also called Antiochus Epimanes (the Mad), Seleucid king of the Hellenistic Syrian kingdom who reigned from 175 to 164 bc. When he, captured Jerusalem in 167 BC, he desecrated the Temple by offering the sacrifice of a pig on an altar to Zeus (the Abomination of Desolation).
A parallel of Antioch Epiphanes and the Antichrist
““Because of rebellion, the LORD’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the LORD’s people?” Daniel 8: 12-13
It is significant to mention that the context of the mentioned text of Daniel is about Antioch; nevertheless, the Scriptures tell us that “…as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” I John 2: 18. Therefore, as Antioch was a master of intrigue, an enemy of the truth and the one who desolated the Temple, we can affirm that the last antichrist will do the same things:
1. He will desolate the Temple
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand.” Matthew 24: 15.
“He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2Thessalonians 2: 4
2. He will throw the truth to the ground
As Antioch Epiphanes, the Antichrist will deceived the world with Satan’s support, the father of lies (John 8: 44). It is important to mention that all antichrist’s predecessor had hatred the truth.
“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-10
3. He will be a man of intrigue
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 2: 3