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The Bow

Rev 6:2

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 rider is often accused of being antichrist because he has a bow and no arrows are mentioned.  They say this represents conquest through diplomacy. Unfortunately, a bow mentioned without arrows never signifies diplomacy.  Not even once.  A bow is mentioned 78 times in 75 verses in the bible and over 50 times it is mentioned without arrows.  A bow always symbolizes strength in the bible or the might of a man.  When Jacob blessed Joseph at the end of his life he said:


Gen 49:23-24

The archers have bitterly grieved him,

Shot at him and hated him.

But his bow remained in strength,

And the arms of his hands were made strong

By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob


David said of Jonathan:

2Sa 1:22

From the blood of the slain,

From the fat of the mighty,

The bow of Jonathan did not turn back,

And the sword of Saul did not return empty.


Jer 49:35

“Thus says the LORD of hosts:

‘Behold, I will break the bow of Elam,

The foremost of their might.

The bow of Elam is their might.  God said he would break their bow, that is He would break "the foremost of their might."


Hos 1:5

It shall come to pass in that day

That I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”

That is to say God would break Israel's might and power in the Valley of Jezreel.


But where does the bow come from?  Who gives the power of the bow?  


Zec 10:3-4

For the LORD of hosts will visit His flock,

The house of Judah,

And will make them as His royal horse in the battle.

From Him comes the cornerstone,

From Him the tent peg,

From Him the battle bow,

From Him every ruler together.


The Lord gives the battle bow!  And so in the hand of the rider of the white horse is a bow for the purpose of conquest that he might go "out conquering and to conquer."


What about the crown that is given to him?  Is he not a ruler?


The Crown


Rev 6:2

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.


What is commonly taught is that he is a ruler because he is given a crown.  A simple look into the Greek text clarifies this easily.  There are two Greek words that are translated as "crown" in English.  The first is stephanos and the second is diadema.  The stephanos was a wreath that was worn by a champion or a victor in ancient athletic games.  In the Greco-Roman world, wreaths could be worn as a sign of a person's rank, achievements, or status.  Paul said:


1Cor 9:24-25

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown (stephanos), but we for an imperishable crown (stephanos).


The stephanos is worn by champions in the faith and those who have overcome this world.


The stephanos is never seen in the New Testament being worn by nonbelievers!

The First Seal - A White Horse

Page 2

Hebrew:   Bow = qesheth

Strong's H7198 קֶשֶׁת

77 times in 74 verses


Greek:      Bow = toxon

Strong's G5115 τόξον

1 time in 1 verse

A bow symbolizes the might of a man.


crown = stephanos

Strong's G4735 στέφανος


crown = diadēma

Strong's G1238 διάδημα

The rider does not have a rainbow (a covenant) as some incorrectly teach.

He has a toxon (τόξον) bow

Strong's G5115


an iris (ἶρις) rainbow

Strong's G2463


The word for bow and rainbow is the same in Hebrew (qesheth - קֶשֶׁת) BUT the New Testament was written in Greek!

Victorious Christians wear a stephanos

Phl 4:1

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown (stephanos), so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

Jas 1:12

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown (stephanos) of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

2Tim 4:8

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown (stephanos) of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

1Pe 5:4

and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown (stephanos) of glory that does not fade away.

A Golden Stephanos

Christians receive a stephanos when they overcome the world

Rev 2:10

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown (stephanos) of life.

Rev 3:11

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown (stephanos).

Rev 4:4

Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns (stephanos) of gold on their heads.

Rev 4:10

the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns (stephanos) before the throne, saying:


Now the diadema is worn by a ruler.  It is a crown with diadems.  The beast wore a crown with diadems because he is a ruler.  






Rev 13:1

Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns (diadema), and on his heads a blasphemous name.


The beast cannot wear a stephanos because he is neither a believer nor an overcomer of this world.  He is an earthly ruler.  When Christ comes back to rule the earth He is found wearing a diadema.


Rev 19:12

His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns (diadema). He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.


Jesus can also be found wearing a stephanos because He has overcome the world.


Rev 14:14

Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown (stephanos), and in His hand a sharp sickle.


Now what kind of crown does the rider receive?  A diadema or a stephanos?


Rev 6:2

And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown (stephanos) was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.


A stephanos!  He is a champion among God's people!

Diadema - A crown of a king or ruler.

Conquering and to Conquer


He went out conquering and to conquer are the last words about him.  The word conquer comes from the Greek word nikao.  Nikao can also be translated overcome.  If you read Revelation in the Greek you will probably notice a pattern and a play on words here.  In chapter 2 and 3 we come to a series of patterns in which Jesus tells the seven churches to overcome (nikao).  Seven times Jesus tells them to nikao.


 Rev 2:7  - Ephesus

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes (nikao) I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” 


 Rev 2:11 - Smyrna

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes (nikao) shall not be hurt by the second death.” 


 Rev 2:17 - Pergamos

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes (nikao) I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” 


 Rev 2:26 - Thyatira

“And he who overcomes (nikao), and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—” 


 Rev 3:5 - Sardis

“He who overcomes (nikao) shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” 


 Rev 3:12 - Philadelphia

“He who overcomes (nikao), I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” 


 Rev 3:21 - To the church in Laodiceans

“To him who overcomes (nikao) I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame (nikao) and sat down with My Father on His throne.” 


The pattern ends with Jesus saying He has overcame (nikao).  We next see Jesus opening the scroll because He has overcame (nikao).


 Rev 5:5

But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed (nikao) to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”


The elders tell John not to weep because Jesus has overcame (nikao).  Then suddenly, as the first seal is loosed and a voice like thunder is uttered, John looks, and a white horse appears with its rider going "out conquering (nikao) and to conquer (nikao)."


Rev 6:2

And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown (stephanos) was given to him, and he went out conquering (nikao) and to conquer (nikao).


You cannot miss the pattern and the play on words here.  Suddenly, comes an overcomer going out to overcome!  It is practically redundant to say he went out conquering and also to conquer.  But it is a play on words for emphasis.  This man is a conqueror, an overcomer, that is why he receives a crown (stephanos). He has in essence overcame (nikao) and is now going out to conquer (nikao).  He is the Lord's anointed.


So who is he?


conquer = nikaō

overcome = nikaō

prevail = nikaō

Strongs G3528 νικάω



conquer = nikaō

victorious  = nikaō

triumph = nikaō

Strongs G3528 νικάω

Nikaō is translated in these verses by the NKJV as overcome whereas

the NIV translates it as victorious.

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