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Notice that there are 3 Greek words that are translated crown. Click on the middle one # 4735.
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That's the Greek word used for crown in Revelation 6:2.
- a crown
a). a mark of royal or (in general) exalted rank
b). the wreath or garland which was given as a prize to victors in public games
- metaph. the eternal blessedness which will be given as a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ: the crown (wreath) which is the reward of the righteousness
- that which is an ornament and honour to one
Let's see how this special Greek word for crown is used everywhere it occurs in the New Testament.
1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:25 (NASB)
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
James 1:12 (NIV)
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV)
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?
Philippians 4:1 (NIV)
Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
(Notice how the gospel writers honored their Lord by using this special Greek word for crown):
Matthew 27:29 (NIV)
and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said.
Mark 15:17 (NIV)
They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.
John 19:2 (NIV)
The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe
John 19:5 (NIV)
When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"
Revelation 2:10 (NIV)
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Revelation 3:11 (NIV)
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
Revelation 4:4 (NIV)
Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.
Revelation 4:10 (NIV)
the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
Revelation 12:1 (NIV)
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
Revelation 14:14 (NIV)
I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man" with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Revelation 9:7 (NIV)
The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces.
Revelation 9:7 (NASB)
The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.
Revelation 6:2 (NIV)
I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
Revelation 6:2 (NASB)
I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
Who Receives the Crown?
Burton Coffman Commentary Comments:
Of all those who have discussed this in their books, as far as we have investigated, William Hendriksen has the most thorough and intensive study of it; and the symbol (the white horse and its rider) which dominates these two verses was identified by him with "The Christ". F4 Although disagreeing with it, Bruce admitted that this "is the long established interpretation"; F5 "many think this"; F6 Roberson, F7 Cox, F8 Wallace, F9 and a very great many others might be cited; but perhaps it is more profitable to point out the reasons behind this view.
- "The white horse ..." The color here is significant, for its contrasts with the colors of the other horses; and nowhere in Revelation is white used otherwise than as a symbol of purity, holiness, glory, etc. "In the book of Revelation, white is never used of anything evil." F10 The white throne upon which God sits is an example.
- The choice of a "horse" in this symbolism means "war." It is a righteous war, for the horse was white, indicating truth and righteousness. "This war began when Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, and his disciples began to go everywhere at his command." F11
- The rider wore a crown which was "given to him," not a crown extorted through the atrocities of war, but a gift of God. A "crown" in the Scriptural sense upon the head of some profane conqueror is impossible to believe. Only Christ fits the picture.
- The rider on this white horse went forth "conquering and to conquer," expressions used extensively elsewhere in the New Testament of Christ. "We feel sure that had you never heard another interpretation you would at once have said, `This is the Conquering Christ.'" F12
- The conqueror in Rev. 19:11 is also crowned and rides upon a white horse; but he cannot be mistaken. His name is given: "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Can this conqueror be any other? As Roberson said, "All efforts to separate the white horse of this vision from that of Rev. 19:11 are futile." F13
Objections to this interpretation are not grounded in a proper understanding of the New Testament. For example, the notion advanced by many to the effect that the other three horsemen all represent judgments, but the conquering Christ is not a judgment, fails to take into account that the preaching of Christ's gospel is indeed the principal and leading judgment of this earth. "An odor of life unto life in them that are saved, and an odor of death unto death in them that perish" (2 Corinthians 2:16). Christ came to send, not peace, "but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). There is extensive teaching along this vein of thought in the New Testament, and all of it nullifies the objection that "Christ is quite out of place" F14 in this passage. Indeed, he is exactly where he belongs, "leading the van" of the judgments of earth. Furthermore, extensive terminology in the Old Testament corroborates this. See Psa. 45:3-5, Zech. l:8ff; etc. For those interested in a more extensive discussion of this interpretation, see William Hendriksen's analysis. F15
The further objection that Christ would not have rushed off on a white horse at the behest of one of the living creatures fails to note that what we have is "a vision." It is also not inconsistent that Christ both opens the seals and appears in the visions extensively throughout Revelation.
Despite what would appear to be conclusive evidence that the crowned rider on the white horse of the first seal could hardly be any other than the Son of God, he is "interpreted" as the Antichrist, F16 "conquering military power," F17 "the victory of selfish, lustful conquest," F18 "the victorious warrior," F19 etc. Most of the interpretations of this symbol as anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ and the preaching of his holy gospel are firmly grounded in a priori conceptions of such things as the millennium, the parousia, the great tribulation, the rapture, or some other stylized interpretation of the prophecy.
Some little time has been devoted to this opening of the first seal, because the way it is interpreted will color all that follows. For example, if this crowned rider on the white horse with the bow in his hand is understood to mean Jesus Christ and his worldwide program of preaching the gospel, it is clear enough that it cannot possibly refer to some relatively short period of history, but to the entire dispensation reaching from the First Advent to the Second Advent. Thus we confidently interpret it. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14).
The reluctance of some to bracket Christ on the first horse with others symbolizing bloodshed, famine, and pestilence is due to a failure to see all four (even the preaching of the gospel) as a divine series of judgments upon mankind. They are operative continuously and simultaneously throughout the earth until the end of time. If it is asked why, then, do they "follow" one after another in the vision; it must be replied, "because they do follow." The gospel is preached, and the failure to obey its holy teachings causes bloodshed, famine, and death. The great paradox of the Christ is that the Prince of Peace should bring, not peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). The principle inherent in this interpretation is that all human suffering, in the last analysis, is traceable to the fountain source of sin and rebellion against God in human hearts.
Christ is the Head of the Church and the Commander of heaven. He rides a white horse (Rev 19:11). His saints also ride white horses (Rev 19:14). It makes perfect sense therefore that the rider of the white horse in Rev 6:2 represents the entire Church.
The four horses in Rev 6 represent power. The symbolism has been taken from Zech 6:1-5. The horses there, with chariots, are said to represent the four spirits (or winds) of heaven (Zech 6:5).
Christ has empowered His Church to preach the gospel. That power and our marching orders have been put in military terms. "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. … Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:14-17). "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet" (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
"Who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?" (Song of Solomon 6:4,10 NKVJ). She is the Bride of Christ.
These are beautiful comparisons. The going forth of the rider and the white horse, then, conquering and to conquer, is a very reasonable reference to the Church. See Zechariah 10:3-5.
My anger is kindled against the shepherds,
And I will punish the male goats;
For the LORD of hosts has visited His flock, the house of Judah,
And will make them like His majestic horse in battle.
From them will come the cornerstone,
From them the tent peg,
From them the bow of battle,
From them every ruler, all of them together.
They will be as mighty men,
Treading down the enemy in the mire of the streets in battle;
And they will fight, for the LORD will be with them;
And the riders on horses will be put to shame.