This passage in Revelation looks at the opening of the seven seals by the Lamb. The first four seals reveal four horses of different colours and riders. The first is a white horse with its rider coming to conquer (verse 2). The second is a red horse signifying blood and strife (verse 4). The third is a black horse indicating famine (verse 5-6). The final horse is pale and is ridden by Death (verse 8). This sequence plays out history where dictators of the world are followed by war then famine and finally death. The horror of it all is that these horse riders were "given" (their crown, sword, authority, etc.) - someone is behind this series of events. It is horrendous to think that it IS God who has "given" but we need to acknowledge that this is part of His judgment on a sinful humanity.
The fifth seal reveals martyred souls questioning God how long more before they can be avenged. Consistent with Romans 12:19, it is all left to the wrath of God for it is His vengeance to repay. It is interesting to note that unlike some false teachings that promote nothing but blessings and prosperity, verse 11 tells us to expect that more Christians will be persecuted and killed.
The final judgment occurs with the opening of the sixth seal. It is noteworthy to see in verses 15-16 that these people including the dictators themselves would rather have the mountains and rocks fall upon them than to face the wrath of God for who can stand?
Chapter 7 opens with an interlude that no harm is to be done until the servants of our God are sealed on their foreheads (verse 3). The number 144,000 is symbolic of a great number i.e. a huge group. Once again, as formerly portrayed in previous chapters, victory is symbolized by the white robes and palm branches in verse 9. Contrasting with the idea of judgment in chapter 6, verse 10 introduces the concept of salvation. In verses 14-17, we see how the great tribulation revealed by the sixth seal is overcome by being washed white with the blood of the Lamb (i.e. the violent death of Christ). There is also a role reversal where the Lamb is now the shepherd who guides His people to springs of living water.
The seventh seal is finally broken in chapter 8. Contrasted with all the other "noises" from chapter 4 onwards such as weeping, singing, worshipping in loud voices, crying, etc., complete silence fills heaven for a good half hour.
So, after all seven seals have been broken, the question still remains: Who can stand? Seeing how it is the Lamb who is considered the only worthy one to break the seals and how it is His blood that sanctifies His people, the wrath of God is now rightfully the vengeance of the Lamb. Hence, those who have been washed by the blood of the Lamb i.e. Christians can now stand blameless and unblemished before God because of Christ's death on the cross.
To those who have yet to call Jesus their Lord and Saviour, may I encourage you to remember that the final judgment, death, is yet to be upon us, but will befall those who choose to reject the gift of eternal life, the gift of salvation, that He offers us by His amazing grace and loving mercy. There are only two ways to live: either you are for Him (and will so be promised the crown of life) or you are against Him (and will so be punished with death for your rebellion).
How will you live your life?
Labels: Australia, Christianity, Revelation