May 14, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING:
“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!’ Then….“
TODAY’S REFLECTION ON GOD’S WORD:
Seal 1/Horse 1- The White Horse ridden by one with a bow and a crown to go into all the world as a conqueror.
Seal 2/Horse 2- The Red Horse ridden by one with a large sword intended to take peace from the world and encourage people to kill people.
Seal 3/Horse 3- The Black Horse ridden by one who held a pair of balance scales with strict orders of fair measurement for a day’s wages.
Seal 4/Horse 4- The Pale Horse ridden by “Death” with Hades not trailing far behind given permission to kill one-fourth of the earth’s population with a sword, pestilence, famine and wild beasts.
Seal 5- All those who were martyred for the sake of the gospel of Jesus the Christ cried out from beneath the Altar for vengeance and justice and were told their time was coming when the number of martyrs had been reached as those who perished on earth as did they.
Seal 6- “The Great Day of Wrath” rolls like thunder and shakes like an earthquake so strong that even the heavens seem to be brought low and the dust of the earth fills the skies causing everyone to hide fearing for their lives.
It cannot be ignored throughout the testimony of the Book of Revelation that “we are going somewhere.” Whether we are of the redeemed or the repelled, the saint or the sinner, the free or the slave or the lamb or the goat, we have a destination which is ours to choose. And fortunately for us, this is not an episode of “Let’s Make a Deal” where there Curtains or Boxes numbered 1, 2 and 3. The choices are clear and can be categorically characterized as “Good” or “Evil” or “Right” and “Wrong” with God through Jesus the Christ as the determination of the Final Response to our final answer. What is the question, you may ask. The question is “Do you authentically believe that Jesus of Nazareth born of Mary under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God is the Messiah, the Christ of God, who lived, served, died and was raised on the Third Day from the grave to lead, guide, direct and reign forever and ever over all the earth? And further, do you accept Him without question to be your Lord and Savior and be known by all as one who loves one another so much you would be willing to lay down your life for their safety and for God’s sake?” Know that your life is the witness and testimony for your answer! And the testing of that answer comes in a methodical form as revealed in Revelation, chapter 6; but with more to come in chapter 7. The answer we give and is verified becomes the designation of our destination as to where it is we are truly going.
Know that when the seven churches of Asia Minor who were addressed in chapters 2 and 3 first heard this prophetic declaration as revealed to John for their sake, they heard it just as it was written. The conventions used piqued their listening and refined their hearing as to “what comes next.” One of those conventions was the number seven which we have mentioned numerous times already. It represents a holy number whose reference point is “the sabbath.” Whether seven days of creation (the seventh day being the Sabbath which would later be the designated day of holiness) or seven lampstands (which represented the seven churches) or other similar illustrations, the mere mention of seven became a place holder of completion. One dared not stop listening any time from the mention of one to six. The anticipation was for number seven. Seven was the fulfillment of one to six and commanded a definitive response from the people who gathered in the presence of God. For the sake of the Church, there is a seventh day coming to which we are headed for. It has not come yet; however, leading up to it were are given signals which point us to that climax of “final destination.” In this particular travel guide (chapter 6), we are shown six of the seven signs of “what comes next.” There are four horses and horsemen, one lamentation which speaks of an event in the making and one universal cataclysmic event which will impact everyone. No one escapes whether they are believers or not.
What are we to make of this? For those who cast the veil of a “Good and Peace-loving God” who wouldn’t hurt a flea on God, this journey is a bitter pill to swallow. It forces them to make a decision about what is it they truly believe about God, His goodness and the promised peace. Too many live in a panacea where peace just happens and there will be “war no more” as down on the riverside where we will lay down our swords and shields. The sad truth in the broken world is that peace does not come without pain, sacrifice and conflict. Even Jesus had to die a horrible death in order to establish the means of peace through God’s mercy and grace for those who will believe. Even in the age of the Church we know the history of martyrdom. As we read (or hear), that martyrdom is not yet finished. The appointed number to reach “full measure” is yet to come before full justice is made known. And see that the whole world is caused to experience the tumult of the Lord’s wrath; not just the unbelievers and non-believers. This tells us that there is not only more to come but worse to come. All attention is focused then on the “seventh” day which is to come. It means, in and of itself, that the fulfillment of God’s true justice is nearing. It also means, that the faithful must maintain their faithfulness and keep their own peace with God, one another and with the world. It is not going to be easy. We know by modern standards it is not easy on earth nor in Heaven. What a challenge is being presented to us for our consideration of what it is we believe and what we are to believe about it in the days to come as they progress. We don’t even have to comprehend the meanings of every image to have a basic grasp of the overall message. But, God is ready to share with us how it is intended to be because of the choices people have made for their lives and for the lives of others. He does so in light of His choice for our lives and for the lives of others through His Son who is meant to be our Savior. This is the great expression of His love for us. It is the same as when Jesus gathered with the remaining disciples (the Eleven left in the Upper Room when Judas left to complete his chosen task) and told them again of the events to unfold in the hours and days ahead. He didn’t speak of weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, epochs and eons. He spoke only of the very present time, the season of life in which they found themselves in because they believed that Jesus was the Christ even though they didn’t fully understand the consequences of what that would mean for them and for others. But, He told them anyway so they would be prepared and not surprised even in the moment when it happened leaving them in “shock and awe.” Are we listening, mighty ones of God in Jesus Christ? Are we paying attention to the times, the signs of the times and of the time yet to come? Are we prepared to live in the days of trial, tribulation and the triumph which will follow? We cannot know the one without the other. Remember, there have been six but the seventh is coming.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY:
You are our God and we shall be Your people in spirit and in truth. Continue to dwell among us. Let the revelation by Your Holy Spirit inspire us to greater service in a more refined identity. We do not live as ourselves for ourselves. Rather, we live in Christ as He lives in us. We declare it with all the elders and angels in Heaven, saying “Holy, holy, holy is He who was and is and is to come.” In Jesus’ name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.