And I saw heaven opened
This vision refers not to the same time the first seal does, ( Revelation 6:2 ) for though a white horse, with a rider on it, is seen here, as there; that respects the first times of the Gospel, this the latter part of the dispensation of it; nor to the war in heaven between Michael and the dragon, and their angels, ( Revelation 12:7 ) that issued in the downfall of Paganism in the Roman empire, this will issue in the downfall of the Papacy in it; nor to the personal coming of Christ to the last judgment, of which an account is given in the following chapter; but to the battle at Armageddon, to which the sixth vial is a preparation, and which is finished under the seventh, ( Revelation 16:13-17 ) and what is briefly hinted at there is at large related here; in which Christ, the General, and his armies, on the one hand, and the kings of the earth, with the beast and false prophet, and their armies, on the other hand, appear to give battle to each other: and the issue of the battle is particularly represented, in order to have a view of which, "John saw heaven opened": not literally, as at Christ's baptism, and at the stoning of Stephen, nor in a spiritual sense, by the blood of Christ, but visionally, as in ( Revelation 4:1 ) and since heaven, often in this book, signifies the church on earth, a more glorious and comfortable state of the church may be designed; when her gates shall be opened continually, and not shut day nor night, to receive the forces of the Gentiles, and their kings, ( Isaiah 60:15 ) such a state as is referred to in ( Revelation 11:19 ) ( 15:5 ) to which visions this is contemporary; and it may denote a very glorious appearing of Christ, not in person, which will be after this, but in his kingdom and power, in defeating his enemies, and reigning spiritually with his saints: and it may also design the clear revelation and discerning John had of the following things:
and behold a white horse
which, as in ( Revelation 6:2 ) may be a symbol of the Gospel, and Gospel ministers, as there in the former, here in the latter part of the Gospel dispensation; signified by a horse, to denote the swift progress of the Gospel in the latter day, the majesty, power, and authority with which it will come, bearing down all opposition made against it; and by a white horse, to express the purity of the Gospel, and of its preachers and professors, and the peace it publishes, and gives, and the joy it brings, and the triumphs that will attend it.
And he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True:
that Christ is here meant, is evident from the description of his eyes, ( Revelation 19:12 ) being the same as in ( Revelation 1:14 ) and from his name, ( Revelation 19:13 ) which is the peculiar name of the Son of God, ( John 1:1 John 1:14 ) and he sits upon, and is bore by, and rides forth in the Gospel, and the ministry of it, with glory and majesty, and prosperously, ( Psalms 45:3 Psalms 45:4 ) and the characters of faithful and true well agree with him; (See Gill on Revelation 3:7). (See Gill on Revelation 3:14). He is "faithful and true" to God, who appointed him a Leader and Commander of the people, and to them he is the Commander of: and these characters well suit him now, when he will accomplish all the glorious things spoken of the church, relating to her spiritual and happy state in the latter day, and serve greatly to recommend him as a General.
And in righteousness he doth judge and make war;
which is to be understood not of the last judgment, though that will be executed in righteousness, and therefore is called the righteous judgment, yet in that day there will be no war, no opposition, the wicked will at once submit; but of Christ's judging of his people, and avenging their blood on their enemies, and the remainder of them among Papists, Pagans, and Mahometans; who will be gathered together at Armageddon in battle array against them, when there will be an utter discomfiture of them in righteous judgment; for as in times past the beast made war with the saints and witnesses, and overcame them, Christ will enable his people to make war with him and his accomplices, and overcome them, as the sequel of this vision shows, Christ being at the head of them, though not in person, yet in power.