The First Seal: A White Horse

6: 1-2

   DIG: What are the similarities between the true Trinity and the counterfeit trinity? Who will energize the antichrist? What role does the antichrist play in the Great Tribulation? What offer will he accept that Christ rejected?

   REFLECT: God did not appoint us to suffer wrath (First Thessalonians 5:9). How can you escape the wrath brought on by the antichrist during the Great Tribulation? Where is the universal Church at that time?

    Picture John somewhere above Patmos, caught up in his vision to the very throne of ADONAI. The Lamb is about to open God’s scroll. The four living creatures, who carry out Ha'Shem's judgment, bow in silence. The twenty-four elders tremble in anticipation. The choir of ten thousand times ten thousand angels stops their worship and stands on tiptoe waiting to see what will happen next. Then John, as an eyewitness, reports: I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals.

    What should happen next then is obvious. A page of writing should appear peeled back from the leather scroll and Yochanan, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders should all crowd around to read that page. But this is no ordinary book! This is an illustrated, God-inspired volume whose pictures leap full-blown from the pages and thunder before them in full view.

    Apparently, there is a brief moment between that time when the Lamb breaks open the seal and the time when the four horsemen of the Apocalypse can ride. In that instant they await YHVH's command like racehorses poised in the gate. The four horsemen cannot ride on their own command because of God’s sovereign control; they pause for ADONAI's order to begin their journey. In that pause, as the riders await the LORD's command to ride, we learn several great lessons about these judgments.193

    Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder to the first rider, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! It’s rider held a bow. And he was given a crown. And he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

    John introduces a man holding a bow, but he doesn’t have arrows because he will appear to be a man of peace. After signing the seven-year covenant with Isra'el, the world will be clamoring for a ruler who can put an end to nuclear war, economic and environmental problems. He will be wearing a crown as a conqueror bent on conquest, but his crown will not be earned, it will be given to him by God for His purposes. It will be a stephanos, or the crown of victory. It is not the diadem, or the crown of royalty worn by Christ when He returns (14:14, 19:12a). After a short interlude of peace, he will abandon his peace program in an effort to dominate the world. His use of force to attain his goal will be a disaster, resulting in the persecution and death of all who oppose him. The result will be that the earth will have a charismatic leader negotiating counterfeit peace treaties.194 This first horseman is the antichrist, and He will play a major role in the Great Tribulation by bringing on war, famine and death.

    To fully understand the antichrist, he needs to be viewed in the context of the counterfeit trinity. When Messiah returns He will be riding a white horse (19:11), and this counterfeit Christ is seen here riding a white horse. An unholy trinity will be set up during the Great Tribulation (13:1-17). Satan will play the role of the counterfeit Father. Just as the true Father will give all His authority to Christ, the Adversary will give all his authority to the antichrist. The false prophet will also counterfeit the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Ruach HaKodesh calls mankind to worship Christ, the false prophet will call mankind to worship the antichrist.

    The antichrist has been given several names in the Bible. These names describe different aspects of his character. When taken altogether these names portray him as the essence of evil in the human realm, just as Satan is the essence of evil in the angelic realm. These are his different names:

   The Seed of Satan (Genesis 3:15 KJV)

   The Little Horn (Dani'el 7:8)

   The King of Fierce Countenance (Dani'el 8:23 KJV)

   The Ruler Who Will Come (Dani'el 9:26)

   The Desolator (Dani'el 9:27 KJV)

   The Willful King (Dani'el 11:36)

   The Man of Sin (Second Thessalonians 2:3 KJV)

   The Man Doomed to Destruction (Second Thessalonians 2:3)

   The Lawless One (Second Thessalonians 2:8)

   The Antichrist (First John 2:22)

   The Beast (Revelation 11:7)

    Although the antichrist may not be his most common name in the Bible, it is fitting. It describes his true intent, which is to oppose Christ. These various names merely describe the different aspects of his character that he uses in his opposition to Messiah. But in the end he is still a counterfeit. For just as Christ has a number of different names, titles and descriptions, so does the antichrist.

    The true Son, Jesus Christ, had both a natural and a supernatural origin as a result of the virgin birth; the counterfeit son, antichrist, will have a natural origin and a counterfeit supernatural birth imitating a virgin birth. Satan cannot create life out of nothing. Only YHVH can create, only the Eternal One can call into existence that which did not exist. But the antichrist will deceive the nations into believing that he, like Christ, is born of a virgin. Yeshua is fully God and fully man, the true God-man; however, the antichrist will be presented to the world as a counterfeit god-man. The time is coming when the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who will be perishing (Second Thessalonians 2:9-10). The Greek word translated work is energeo, which means to energize. Thus, the Adversary himself will energize the antichrist during the Great Tribulation.

    In the final analysis, the counterfeit son will accept what the true Son rejected. Satan offered the Messiah all the kingdoms of the world if the Son of God would worship him. But Yeshua rejected the offer, saying only ADONAI should be worshiped (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Bj - Jesus is Tempted in the Wilderess). The same offer will be made to the counterfeit son, who will accept. This acceptance will mark the rise to political and religious control of the world (Dani'el 11:38-39 and Revelation 13:2). His rise to power is described in two passages.

    The first passage is Daniel 8:23-25. There it tells us that the king of fierce countenance (KJV), or the antichrist, will have the understanding of dark sentences (KJV). This means that he will have the same supernatural abilities to explain riddles and solve difficult problems that Dani'el had in Dani'el 5:12. While Dani'el’s source of power was ADONAI, but the source of the antichrist’s power will be Satan. The antichrist will have the power of the occult behind him. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will be energized by Satan. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior to all others. This will lead him to proclaim himself to be God by setting an image of himself in the Most Holy Place in the Tribulation Temple (2 Thess 2:3-4; Revelation 13:3-9). He will oppose the Prince of princes, or Christ, so he is surely the antichrist.

    The second passage in Daniel 11:36-39. Here Dani'el describes the antichrist as the king who will do as he pleases, characterized by self-exaltation above all men, even above God Himself. Instead, he will honor a god of fortresses, or Satan. His great god will be military might. He will believe that nothing can stand in his way because he will be under the total control of Satan. Unrestrained, because the Holy Spirit will lift His restraining power, he will appear to be invincible. Those who submit to his authority and confess him as god will be given positions of power and authority in his kingdom. Thus, the antichrist will be Satan-controlled and Satan-energized. Once he signs the seven year covenant with Isra'el there will be a brief period of peace as the world celebrates its new hero. But his ultimate goal is not peace. Just as Hitler would talk of peace while preparing for war, the rider on the white horse will soon set out to conquer the world.

 

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