THE FIRST SEAL -- A White Horse
"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." Revelation 6:1-2.
Review and Herald, vol 9, February 12, 1857, #15, p 116.
The personage riding forth, conquering and to conquer, upon the white horse represents the Lord Jesus Christ leading on the apostolic church, as they went forth in the power of the gospel, and gained great victories by the power of the Holy Ghost. See Acts of the Apostles.
First Beast. "And the first beast was like unto a lion." Chap.v,7. It is said at the opening of the first seal, that one of the four beasts said, "Come and see." This beast evidently represents the church in the same period as the first seal, and the first church. This beast was like a lion, bold and strong, fitly representing the apostolic church.
Review and Herald, vol 20, July 8, 1862, #6, p 44.
Verses 1,2. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts, saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold, a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
The white horse denotes the purity of faith, and consequently of life, of the first ministers and followers of Jesus Christ. This seal probably covers the period of the Ephesus church of chap.ii,1-7. The conquests of the gospel during that period are here represented.
Uriah Smith, Biblical Institute, Lesson 21, “The Seven Seals”, p 253-254.
The first seal presenting a white horse as described in the second verse of chapter 6, with a rider who went forth with a bow and a crown conquering and to conquer, represents the gospel in its first introduction.
The whiteness of the horse denoting the purity of the church; and the success of the rider, the marvelous conquests of the gospel.
Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, “The Seven Seals”, p 431-434.
"VERSE 1. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2. And I saw, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him; and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."
Having taken the book, the Lamb proceeds at once to open the seals; and the attention of the apostle is called to the scenes that transpire under each seal. The number seven has already been noticed as denoting in the Scriptures completeness and perfection. The seven seals therefore embrace the whole of a certain class of events, reaching down perhaps to the time of Constantine, and the seven trumpets another series from that time farther on, cannot be correct. The trumpets denote a series of events which transpire contemporaneously with the events of the seals, but of an entirely different character. A trumpet is a symbol of war; hence the trumpets denote great political commotions to take place among the nations during the gospel age. The seals denote events of a religious character, and contain the history of the church from the opening of the Christian era to the coming of Christ.
Commentators have raised a question concerning the manner in which these scenes were represented before the apostle. Was it merely a written description of the events which was read to him as each successive seal was opened? or was it a pictorial illustration of the events which the book contained, and which was presented before him as the seals were broken? or was it a scenic representation which passed before him, the different actors coming forth and performing their parts? Barnes decided in favor of calling them pictorial illustrations; for he thinks a merely written description would not answer to the language of the apostle setting forth what he saw, and a mere scenic representation could have no connection with the opening of the seals. But to the view held by Dr. Barnes there are two serious objections: (1) The book was said to contain only writing within, not pictorial illustrations; and (2) John saw the characters which made up the various scenes, not fixed and motionless upon canvass, but living and moving and engaged actively in the parts assigned them. The view which to us seems most consistent is that the book contained a record of events which were to transpire; and when the seals were broken, and the record was brought to light, the scenes were presented before John, not by the reading of the description, but by a representation of what was described in the book being made to pass before his mind in living characters, in the place where the reality was to transpire; namely, on the earth.
The first symbol, a white horse, and the rider who bears a bow and to whom a crown is given, and who goes forth conquering and to conquer, is a fit emblem of the triumphs of the gospel in the first century of this dispensation. The whiteness of the horse denotes the purity of faith in that age; and the crown which was given to the rider, and his going forth conquering and to make still further conquests, the zeal and success with which the truth was promulgated by its earliest ministers. To this it is objected that the ministers of Christ and the progress of the gospel could not be properly represented by such warlike symbols. But we ask, By what symbols could the work of Christianity better be represented when it went forth as an aggressive principle against the huge systems of error with which it had at first to contend? The rider upon this horse went forth - where? His commission was unlimited. The gospel was to all the world.
James White, Signs of the Second Advent, p 18.
The opening of the first seal reveals a white horse, whose rider had a bow and a crown as he went forth conquering and to conquer. This is a fit emblem of the triumphs of the gospel in the first centuries of this dispensation, the whiteness of the horse denoting the purity of faith in that age.