In John’s vision about the end times he sees two riders who are on white horses. The first rider is described in chapter six, at the very beginning of the book of the seven seals:
“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 NIV)
It is tempting to say that this rider is Jesus, the Messiah, since he is “given a crown” like a king, and he rides a white horse. Whiteness, of course, is usually representative of purity and righteousness. However, in this case the whiteness is probably counterfeit. This individual is purposefully appearing like the Messiah. The reason why I do not think that he represents Jesus is because this description is given at the beginning of the prophecy, which implies the beginning of the tribulation chronology, and we know from Jesus’ own words He will not come to rule Earth until after the tribulation:
For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d]31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:24-31)
The Apostle Paul likewise confirmed that The Antichrist would come to set up his kingdom before Jesus came to set up His:
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (II Thessalonians 2:3-10)
Having read these passages, then we should be duly warned: the Antichrist is going to come first! He may appear as the Messiah, giving people hope for world peace and justice, but in the end he will only deliver conflict and corruption. Then, after a set period of time, the true Messiah will come to judge Him. He too, will ride a white horse, but He is not an imposter:
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.” (Revelation 19:11)
Jesus, like the Antichrist, will raise war, but his war will bring about peace and justice. The Antichrist’s wars will only breed more wars, and more suffering. But Jesus will quickly and overwhelmingly defeat and dispose of the forces of evil so that there will be no more need for weapons on the Earth (Isaiah 2:4). Jesus alone is the true “prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6).