Dear Hope family,

Thought for the Week

Revelation – The Lamb becomes central

Revelation 6v1  “I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals … .”

Last week, we saw how the Lamb is the one who has the authority to open the seals of the scroll which contains world history. The history of the world and the future of the world lie in his hands. (I launch into this section of Revelation with some trepidation as I know there are polarized views, but I believe this book has deep relevance to us today!)

In this chapter, the first four seals (v1-8) release “horsemen” who bring suffering in the world. They are sufferings associated with (i) those determined to gain power over others, (ii) those who are divided and slay each other, (iii) famine and the inability to afford food, and (iv) death whether by sword, famine, plague or misadventure. It would seem that our world is little different to the time of John.

By contrast, the fifth seal (v9-11) opens heaven to us and we see all those who have been martyred “because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained”. They are offering prayers to God for him to exercise judgment and justice on the earth. Yes, believers who have died are now in fellowship and communication with the Lord, and they share his hatred of injustice. The Lord replies that the time for his judgment and justice is not yet. He also affirms that he knows all those who will give their lives for his sake, though this is also not yet complete.

The sixth seal (v12-17) gives all the prophetic imagery of an old world order drawing to an end for a new one to come in (e.g. see Joel 2v28-32). It portrays the sun, moon, stars and mountains falling in – they represent the things which we normally count on to be stable and reliable – the things we even worship: they are brought to an end. Understandably, the result is great fear in all mankind. Sadly, in their fear, they seek refuge in the very things which are crumbling rather than seeking refuge in Him!

The seventh seal is not going to be opened until chapter 8 – history is not yet finished! But there are three key things to draw from this vision:

  • Jesus has authority over history, he knows what is going on and what is going to come, including the various sufferings the world is going through. For those of us who belong to him, we can draw great comfort and peace in this.
  • Whatever we suffer in this life, those who belong to Christ will be with him when we physically die. We have a hope and a future.
  • Such is the hardness of people’s hearts that they continue to cling on to the things which are crumbling rather than turn to God. This should spur us to prayer for God to have mercy and open spiritual ears, eyes and hearts to him at this time.

With love and blessing,