By Deanne Baum
An old childhood memory surfaces to help me pay attention when learning
I have fond memories of particular puzzles in magazines that included two side-by-side pictures – usually in a medical office. The content was similar – almost identical – but extra items were added to only one of the scenes. On the surface it appeared that both pictures contained the same content, but in actuality there were changes in one. Some were so minute it was like looking for an individual blade of grass. Going back and forth, it always took some time to discover the differences. You had to study each image intently to accurately find each change. It was a pleasant challenge.
I remember trying to read the Bible as a child from the beginning. The genealogies tried my patience. I remember thinking – so what! Who are all these people with strange names? Names I couldn’t even pronounce! I quickly gave up and invariably found myself skipping to Revelation. It was so descriptive, full of fascinating information and action. The imagery was amazing, I would often try to dream of these times to come.
Fast forward to present day. The book of Revelation is indeed still one of my favorites, because of the vivid images it offers. The unveiling of what Jesus Christ reveals to John for us, the messages to the seven churches and finally, the ultimate victory for God, Jesus Christ and all who keep His commandments. (Revelation 22:14)
One aspect of Revelation that recently stood out for me is the two riders, both sitting on white horses. John says, “And 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.” (Revelation 6:2 KJV throughout)
Then it reads, “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And he who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns”. (Revelation 19:11-12)
I had always read these two scriptures in isolation. But by placing them side by side comparisons were much easier to see. A clearer picture emerges. It is fascinating to compare and identify who these two riders are. The first account depicts Satan and the second, Jesus Christ.
A Valuable Lesson Learned
We are not meant to read the Bible without paying attention to the details. We are told, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. (2 Timothy 2:15) and that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We are to use scripture to interpret scripture. If we take one passage in isolation, then we are at risk of not fully understanding what God is trying to tell us. I had once glossed over these two accounts believing they were the same person…because they were both on a white horse, they both had a crown and they came to conquer, but that’s where the similarities end.
In the first account the rider has a bow, (a killing weapon) and his crown was given to him not earned, not deserved, but given from another with the power to do so. God gave Satan temporary rule over this world. Thankfully, he is restrained from outright killing us. We are told that Satan is the god of this age and rules in this present evil age. (John 12:31; Galatians 1:4)
In the second account, the rider comes from heaven. (1 Thessalonians 4:16) This rider was called Faithful and True. The second is righteousness he judges and makes war. We know this rider is Jesus Christ, because Jesus is righteous and he is faithful and His word is Truth. (John 14:6; 17:17) Notice, Satan’s name is not given because he is deceptive and cunningly deceives humankind into thinking he is equal to Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:14)
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the book of life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”. (Revelation 22:18-19)
Satan takes away, adds to and twists every good thing from God without ceasing in order to cause people to stumble. He wants to confuse and to deceive. He is fueled by pride, vanity, lust for power and violence. His ultimate objective is to separate us from God and Jesus Christ. He poses as Christ. He fools all who don’t have a close relationship with God and Christ.
The Bible is the one seriously believable source we can trust in and it is there to be read diligently, carefully. It helps us understand all matters pertaining to our loving Almighty Father and His son, Jesus the Christ. It is a guide on how to live our lives and develop our relationship with God, Jesus, and one another.
Studying allows us to see the complete picture and it can be fun! Comparing between good and evil is a very important matter. Now that I’m grown it is time to put away the childish things and seriously discern between the god of this age and the soon coming Lord of Lords and King of Kings, who will usher in His Kingdom to rightfully rule the world! (Revelation 19:16)