Many teach that the conqueror is Jesus Christ because:
He rides a white horse. Rev.19:11
He shoots arrows. Psa. 45:5
He is crowned. Rev.19:12 Heb. 2:9
He has conquered [G3528] the world. John 16:33, Luke 11:22
This is a very strong argument. The Lord Jesus meets all the descriptions we have of the conqueror. He ticks all the boxes.
Q) So why would it not be Him?
A) The horsemen are 4 of a kind. Both John and Zak described them as 4 of a kind: Zak. 6:5 [these] and so did John 6:8 [them]. The Lord Jesus is unique:
Jesus is the only way to the Father John 14:6
In the beginning was the Word. John 1:1-3
Only Jesus is equal with the Father. Phil. 2:6
Only Jesus can command the dead to live. There are so many examples in scripture that show us the divinity of Jesus, He is not one of four. Never.
Many dispensationalists teach the Conqueror is the antichrist. And his conquest marks the beginning of the Great Tribulation. This theory has some support from the scripture but it also has some problems:
a) Zek identified the horses as spirits or winds. We know the antichrist will be an individual [2Thess. 2:3] But the four horsemen are not individuals, are war, famine and death individuals? Why would the first rider be an individual if the others aren't?
b) If you see the book of Revelation as chronological then the timing is wrong. The antichrist does not appear until the beast from the sea is established as a government on earth. That happens at the end of the Trumpets Rev.13:1, not at the opening of the Seals.
c) Pin the tail on the antichrist. This is a game played by all who subscribe to this doctrine. They scan the geopolitical horizon looking for any powerful charismatic person who could fit-the-bill. This game is fun to play but fruitless.
There are a number of persons in Genesis associated with the bow as a weapon. The first is Nimrod, Gen.10:8-9. Nimrod was an ambitious man, the names of the cities he built reveal his ambitions. I suspect he wanted to be king of the world, but there is no mention of any crown or conquest. Just the opposite.
Next is Ishmael, it was said of him: Gen 16:12 And he shall be as a wild ass among men; his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him...[ASV]. Ishmael has the some problem as does Nimrod, a good archer but that is all. Ishmael's descendants, or those who identify with him are conquerors [the Muslims], but their conquest is by the sword, and their ancestor was not crowned in any way, shape or form.
Others [Later Rain Pentacostals] Say the conqueror represents revival in the church, and use much the same arguments as do the Conqueror-is-Christ crowd.
They say the stephanous [martyrs] crown represents the martyrs and the saints. This doctrine is supported by Steven's martyrdom. But I believe the crown represents the success of the conquest, not the righteousness of the rider. Paul described it as a corruptible crown in 1Cor. 9:25 . It is possible to be corrupt and successful. The monsters from the bottomless pit also wear this crown. Rev.9:7. It adds to the deception along with the white horse. White is no guarantee of righteousness, as previously mentioned it is also the colour of leprosy Lev.13:3. And deception is an effective tool in the successful conquest of the world.
They can claim first mention of the bow to support their position, as in rainbow, not as a weapon, and it therefore represents God's covenant. But this contradicts the context, how does the conqueror kill with a rainbow? Maybe he has a super-soaker in his saddle?
Some [Seventh Day Adventists] say the 4 horsemen represent 4 periods of church history. But there are two problems with this theory: The scripture clearly states many times these horsemen deal with the earth:
a) Rev.6:4 ...and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth...
b) Rev.6:8 ...And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth...
c) Zek. 6:7 And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.
d) Zek 1:10...These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.
God's people may be affected by prosperity, war, famine and death but these horses are not mentioned as the means of such, the scripture says:
John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Rev. 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand...
Jude 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
The Lord Jesus Himself holds the Church in His hand, and orders / allows all the dealings she has. Paul said; And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
2) There is no evidence from the scripture that the horsemen represent periods of church history, exactly the opposite. The only support comes from historical records, and this is vague at best. If we rely on empirical evidence to support a doctrine it should be written loud and clear in all the history books. But this is not the case.
The seals, trumpets, and vials are the same events viewed from different angles. This is popular in some circles, but it too has problems. I am yet to see anyone present a reasonable reconciliation between the seals, trumpets and vials.