RACING TOWARDS JUDGMENT
Father in heaven, I am grateful for the gift of another day. Where You lead today, may I gladly follow.
Read REVELATION 6:1–17
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
We are reminded in this chapter that in the midst of world chaos and the martyrdom of Christians, Christ stands at the center. It is he who is finally in control. God is still on the throne.
We now leave the heavenly court, being plunged once more into the reality of the world. As always, John reaches for biblical ideas to depict this, here referencing the four horses from Zechariah (Zech. 1:8–11). There, they focus on a false peace; here, global calamity. This is not limited to some future scenario, but the world as it is (2–8)—a world plagued by false religion (the white horse), war (red), famine (black) and death (pale green). If you don’t believe me, open a newspaper or watch television news!
As God’s purposes unfold with the opening of the fifth seal, we see God’s people suffering persecution but, under the altar (9), nevertheless enjoying God’s protection and safe-keeping. The saints who have suffered hold to the word of God, which was their “testimony” (9). In fact, they are waiting for their other “brothers and sisters” (11) to be added to their number.
With the sixth seal comes the resolution of both the violence of the world and the persecution of the saints—God comes in judgment (12–17). John’s images are the same as that of Isaiah (the sky rolled like a scroll; Isa. 34:4), as well as Joel’s (sun darkens, moon turned to blood; Joel 2:31; compare Isa. 51:6), relating to the day of the Lord and the end of the age. This language is used by Jesus (Matt. 24:29) and, at Pentecost, by Peter (Acts 2:20). In Jesus’ death and resurrection and the giving of the Spirit, the new age has broken in, though the final judgment on this age is still to come. Having turned from God, the world suffers pain and confusion, rejecting the testimony of God’s people and hurtling towards judgment
Which seal opening makes the greatest impression on you? Why?
Sovereign Lord, I am assured to know that I am not caught in the grip of circumstances but I am secure in Your hands.
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