Rev.6:1-1st Seal: A white horse rider
Rev. 6:1-2 “Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, "Come and see." And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
The seals are being opened by the lamb in heaven. The white horse rider is the first of 4 riders that are sent from the Lord to bring judgment to the earth. He is on a white horse which some think is Jesus who comes on a white horse at the end of the Tribulation, not the beginning. A crown symbolizes authority, rulership.
A conquering king would ride into a city that day after he defeated his enemy in a battle or a war, showing his victory. This rider has a stephanos crown of victory. This crown is also common among the Romans to represent an emperor (from Barnes' Notes).
This is why he is not Jesus, for Jesus instead has a diadem crown in Chapter 19 and he rides his white horse from heaven with the saints and angels to end the Tribulation. While this white horse rider in rev. 6 begins the tribulation. White is often a symbol of purity, it is used for the righteousness of the saints. He uses this to conquer. He is a counterfeit that wants the world to think he is the Messiah.
The bow he carries is an instrument used in war. It is a weapon used to kill. His way of triumph is by deception and war, not by the gospel of peace. This is affirmed by the next horse rider, and the one after and the one after that. There is a consistency to these riders. The white horse is either the false prophet convincing people or the counterfeit of the real messiah (Dan.7:8; 2 Thess.2:1-; Rev. 13:1- 18, 17:10- 16). More likely the Anti-Christ is this white horse rider.
The rider has a crown as a world leader. He is riding to bring about peace and safety. The Antichrist will promise peace and make a peace treaty with God’s people Israel (Daniel 9:27). This is the way he conquers. This is what begins the Tribulation. It is a false peace that he uses to trap Israel and an unsuspecting world. This is described by the prophet Daniel: "And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many." (Daniel 8:25 KJV, emphasis mine).
Since Israel (i.e. Jerusalem) is the sore spot on planet earth it must become peaceful.
1 Thess, 5:3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”
The world will think he is the Christ, the one they were expecting, after all he comes by peace he rides as an angel of light. He looks like a minister of righteousness on a white horse.
The seals are the first series of judgments revealed, there are 4 riders on different color horses. All four seals and the riders loosed usher in judgments on the earth, as the power which opposes the reign of Himself and His Church. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
The first 4 seals are 4 horsemen riding swiftly to bring judgments to the earth
Right after he promises peace the next rider comes and delivers war. In the second seal we see peace is taken away from the earth, which is the outcome from his worldwide conquest. Rev.6:3- 2nd Seal: No peace but war breaks out on earth
Rev.6:5- 3rd Seal: Worldwide economic troubles
Rev.6:7- 4th Seal: Death released. 1/4 of the world’s population to die by the sword, hunger, disease, and beasts of the earth.
So ends the horse riders. Jesus is not the first rider that begins the tribulation riding on a white horse with the other horse riders that follow and then later rides on a white horse with all the saints (1 Thess 3:13; Jude 14-15) and angels to end the tribulation.
Again in Rev. 6:1-2 the Lamb opens the first of the 7 seals in heaven, nowhere does it imply he is the rider, and by the sheer weight of what takes place from this rider the other riders that follow shows he is not. Compare this when he does come.
Rev. 19:11-16 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.