Is the rider of the white horse in Revelation the return of Apollo?
This is a tough question to answer because of the many different interpretations of the book of Revelation. There are at least four prevalent interpretive views of Revelation. These range from viewing the book as a prophecy about the immediate future from the first century perspective to futurist use of what will happen in our future.
I also must point out that there are two writers of white horses in the book of Revelation. The first happens as the first of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation 6, the result of opening the first four seals by the Lamb. The second occurs toward the end of the book during the battle of Armageddon.
The first occurrence of a rider on a white horse occurs in Revelation 6:1-2, the first of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This rider is described with a bow and a crown, conquering and seeking to conquer.
Two main suggestions have been given for the identity of the rider on the white horse. The first is that it is Christ. Those who suggest this speak of the conquering of the gospel at the end of the age, a revival in a sentence. They take their evidence from Matthew 24-25 where Jesus describes an end time revival of sorts.
The conquering of the rider on the white horse in this case would be the conquering of the gospel message in the hearts of people. The crown given to the rider symbolizes Jesus’ royalty as King.
The second interpretation of the rider on the white horse is that it is the antichrist. He conquers nations so that he can rule them with an iron fist. The crown is given to him by humanity. There is evidence in the Bible for both of these views.
However, the context may give more weight to the second interpretation, that the rider on the white horse is the antichrist. The reasons for this are twofold. First, Jesus has already been mentioned as the slain Lamb who opens the scroll that sends forth the rider on the white horse.
It would be strange for Jesus to be called forth by the living creature. He is already present, the one who initiates the historical event of the rider on the white horse. Second, the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse all bring destruction.
If the rider on the white horse, the first of these Horsemen, is in keeping with the other three, he brings destruction as well. The gospel of Jesus Christ does not bring destruction, but peace and eternal life in Jesus.
Nowhere in the Scriptures is Apollo mentioned. In fact, it would be more likely that the Roman equivalent of this god would be used, instead of Apollo, the Greek god. These are the two best interpretations of the rider on the white horse, most likely the second, the antichrist, being the identity.
The second time a rider on a white horse is mentioned in Revelation is Revelation 19:11-16. Here, the identity of the rider on the white horse is very clear. This is Jesus Christ coming in the end times to conquer the nations of the world who have stood in opposition to God.
These are the only two occurrences of a rider on a white horse in the book of Revelation. In one case, the antichrist comes on a white horse to destroy and conquer. In the second occurrence, Jesus Christ comes at the battle of Armageddon to secure victory for the kingdom of God forever.