The End-Time Ride of the White Horse of Revelation
What will the ride of the white horse of false religion be like in the end time? What kind of deception will this false religious system teach? How will it end?
Revelation 6:2 speaks of a rider on “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.”
In our previous blog post, we showed how the rider of this white horse—the first of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse—represents religious deception. We explored the historical influence of false religion on our world. This blog post will examine what Bible prophecy says about the ride of the white horse in the end times.
What specific details does the Bible give us about religious deception in the end times? What should we be looking for as that time approaches?
The beast with 10 horns
In Daniel 7 we read a prophecy of four kingdoms, represented by four furious and wild beasts. The four kingdoms represented the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greco-Macedonia and Rome.
The last empire, Rome, is described as being “dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong … different from all the beasts that were before it” (Daniel 7:7). What exactly was so different about the Roman Empire compared to all the other empires that preceded it?
The first difference was that it had “ten horns” (verse 7). A horn in Bible prophecy is a symbol of power, a king or government. The “ten horns” are described as “ten kings” to come out of this kingdom (verse 24). Unlike the other empires that eventually fell and never had a resurgence of their former power and glory, the Roman Empire would be revived 10 times after its fall.
As of this point in history, the Roman Empire has been revived nine times. Here are the nine historical revivals of the Roman Empire:
- Vandals (429-533).
- Heruli (476-493).
- Ostrogoths (493-554).
- Justinian (554).
- Charlemagne (800).
- Otto the Great (962).
- Charles the Great (1520).
- Napoleon (1804).
- Hitler and Mussolini (1930s-45).
The 10th revival has not come on the world scene yet, but seems to be developing in modern Europe today. To learn more, read “Who Is the Beast?”
The little horn
History shows that shortly before the collapse of the Roman Empire, a new religious power rose to prominence from within the empire.The second difference between the Roman Empire and the others was the presence of “another horn, a little one” that had “eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words” (verse 8). What is this little horn?
The little horn is described as making “war against the saints,” speaking “pompous words against the Most High,” changing “times and law” and persecuting “the saints” (verses 21, 25). All these actions describe a religious power that opposes God, His truth and His people.
History shows that shortly before the collapse of the Roman Empire, a new religious power rose to prominence from within the empire: the Roman Catholic Church.
Let’s examine three aspects of the prophecy in detail:
- “Making war against the saints”: A fact of history is that the Catholic Church committed atrocities, many known as its inquisitions, aimed to root out what it defined as heresies—beliefs it considered opposed to its orthodox doctrines. But the fact is that many doctrines of this church are heresies when compared to the teachings of the Bible. (For instance, the doctrines of transubstantiation, infant baptism, purgatory, the communion of saints, adoration of images, Sunday worship, the veneration of Mary, and the Trinity.) Historically, those who strove to follow what the Bible teaches on these topics found themselves at odds with the Catholic Church and often persecuted as heretics.
- “A mouth which spoke pompous words”: The Catholic Church makes many blasphemous claims to authority that belongs only to God. It claims to have the power to forgive sins, to speak infallibly at times, to grant salvation or eternal damnation, and to have authority over governments. And it believes that its traditions have the weight of divine authority. The pope (meaning “father”) also claims to be the “vicar of Christ,” which means the “representative” serving in place of Christ on earth, and has taken titles belonging only to God, such as “Holy Father” (a title that applies only to God the Father, Matthew 23:9).
- “Change times and law”: The Catholic Church openly admits to changing from the seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday—and branding God’s true Sabbath day as “Jewish.” On its website, the Catholic Church states: “We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day” (“Catechism of the Catholic Church”). To learn more, read “When Did the Change From Saturday to Sunday Occur?”
The Catholic Church also changed the biblical Passover, calling Christians who kept it “Quartodecimans” (Latin for “14thers”) and “Judaizers.” The Catholic Church so despised Passover that they decided to replace it with the pagan festival Easter. According to its website: “At the Council of Nicaea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon” (“Celebrating the Church’s Liturgy”). To learn more about this change, read “The Holy Days They Changed but Couldn’t Kill.”
The final revival
The Bible prophesies that there will be one final revival of the Roman Empire, the 10th horn of the beast with the “little horn” (the Catholic Church) having a prominent role. This church will lead the world into a final religious deception. The Bible gives this coming deception and its leader many names, which describe different characteristics:
- The “man of sin”: The apostle Paul refers to an end-time individual known as the “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), who will lead a great religious deception. He will be empowered by Satan to deceive the world by his “power, signs, and lying wonders” and will be destroyed at the return of Jesus Christ to this earth (verses 8-9). Jesus also warned of miracle-working false teachers who will deceive many during the end times (Matthew 24:24).
- The Antichrist: The apostle John calls him the “Antichrist,” who will appear at the end of this age (1 John 2:18). Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words defines “antichrist” as “one who, assuming the guise of Christ, opposes Christ.”
- The false prophet: The book of Revelation refers to him as “the false prophet who worked signs” (Revelation 19:20).
- Two-horned lamb: He is described in Revelation 13:11 as “another beast” that had “two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.” The “lamb” is symbolic that this beast appears to be like Jesus Christ, the true Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36; Revelation 12:11, 13:8), yet speaks words inspired by Satan, “the great dragon” (12:9). In other words, he represents a religious system that outwardly appears Christian, but actually teaches doctrines of Satan.
- Mother of harlots: The Catholic Church is pictured as the “MOTHER OF HARLOTS” (17:5), an unfaithful woman with harlot daughters—that is, other churches that teach similar false doctrines. She is described as the “great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (verse 18), which is a reference to Rome.
These two powerful leaders, “the beast” and “the false prophet,” will bring the world to the brink of annihilation. Thankfully, Jesus will intervene and end their rule Himself (Matthew 24:22, Revelation 19:20).
It will be the returning Jesus Christ, coming on a white horse and armed with a sword (verses 11-16), who will end the ride of the white horse of Revelation 6:2.
The true Christ will destroy the counterfeit!