Amidst all the tension and turmoil around me, Lord, you remain my center, my strength, and my hope. Thanks be to God.
Read REVELATION 6
6 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 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.
3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds[a] of wheat for a day’s wages,[b] and six pounds[c] of barley for a day’s wages,[d] and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[e] were killed just as they had been.
12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[f] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their[g] wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
- Revelation 6:6 Or about 1 kilogram
- Revelation 6:6 Greek a denarius
- Revelation 6:6 Or about 3 kilograms
- Revelation 6:6 Greek a denarius
- Revelation 6:11 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 12:10; 19:10.
- Revelation 6:16 See Hosea 10:8.
- Revelation 6:17 Some manuscripts his
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘For waters shall break forth in the wilderness’ (Isaiah 35:6, ESV). Your history does not define your destiny. God is the God of resurrection, the unexpected and unearned new life. Lay your ‘wilderness’ before God as you meditate on these words.
As the scroll of history is opened, scenes of terror emerge. Led by a demonic ‘false Messiah’ (v 2), we see warfare (v 4), famine (v 6), cruel deaths (v 8) and cosmic upheaval (vs 12–14), and the presence of the One who sits on the throne strikes terror into the world’s leaders (vs 15–17).
But did you notice, the fifth seal reveals something different? Here we see God’s people, martyred for their faith (v 9), now alive with him in heaven, crying out for justice (v 10). In the middle of turmoil in the world, God has them safe. Their death was not their end but, like the Lamb whom they followed, they lived on though ‘slain’. Today, Christians around the world are being martyred for their faith, and all Christians live in a world all too similar to that described in this passage. This ancient vision describes a very contemporary world. How do we respond?
At the very least, like the souls under heaven’s altar, we pray, loudly crying out to God for justice, and for God’s final judgment (v 17) to unseat the riders of the four horses and put an end to all causes of suffering, pain, greed, and evil.
There are many organizations working to support persecuted Christians. Pray for their work. Maybe visit their websites for up-to-date prayer requests and to see how you can get involved.
Dear Lord, I offer my prayers for fellow believers who are suffering for the faith. I ask, Lord, for you to grant them greater strength and courage.
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