Next notice that the first horse is White. “a white horse” (Rev. 6:2b).
Just as 2 Corinthians 11:14 reminds us, Satan can transform himself to appear as an angel of light, rather than the angel of darkness that he really is. So white is not always a sign of God or of purity, it can also be a symbol of deception (the angel of light that Satan masquerades as), or here of false and temporary peace.
Most conservative Bible teachers take this first horseman as a symbol of the rapid spread of global peace. It is a temporary peace, but it is unleashed and called forth by God to launch the Tribulation. Global peace is what mankind has always wanted, so God gives them what they want, through a series of deceivers, the chiefest of whom becomes the Antichrist.
For just a moment turn back to Matthew 24:36, for Christ’s personal description of the Tribulation. The Judge Himself tells us exactly what the earth will be like just before He starts this cataclysmic, global holocaust. Christ’s description always amazes me when I think of the powder keg that surrounds us each day we live.
Right now the earth is one big ticking bomb of nuclear arsenals, biological and chemical warfare agents; trained terrorists, special forces, and soldiers; nations bristling with unbelievable amounts of weaponry; and on top of all those external dangers, we all face as humans the depletion of breathable clean air, of drinkable water supplies, of available food producing land, and of energy sources. That is daily life as we know it: dangerous and depleting.
But in Matthew 24:36, as Jesus describes the Tribulation, He says that just before the global holocaust hits, the whole earth is going to be like one big party: A global time of peace, prosperity, safety, and enjoyment. Life will seem wonderful on earth.
Listen to how unaware people will be of the impending doom:
Matthew 24:36-39 (NKJV) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were,so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
The NIV says in v. 39: “they knew nothing about what would happen”.
The NAS says in v. 39: “they did not understand”.
The ESV says in v. 39: “They were unaware”.
Today everyone is afraid Iran may start World War III, and if not Iran, maybe North Korea will, and if not them maybe a Global Jihad, or an asteroid, or a global pandemic of bird flu will terrorize us. If not that type of disaster then the European Debt crisis, or the global water crisis, or the skyrocketing price of food.
But suddenly all that fear melts away, the feelings of danger evaporate, and a deceptive peace, safety, and security suddenly surrounds the planet. That is when the Tribulation starts.