by Philip Layton
Warnings, judgements and God’s wrath is foreseen
- Why would God allow such things to happen to the earth and its inhabitants?
- Compared to the word ‘church’ or ‘churches’ being mentioned frequently in the first three chapters, why do you think that in chapters 6-19 –where God’s wrath is described – the Church is not mentioned at all?
- Of what significance is it that at the point where these words disappear from the book, John gets called up to Heaven (4:1)?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
There are criminals on the run, everywhere. Many are on the ‘most wanted’ list held by government officials because they have committed terrible crimes against humanity. Some get away; but most are eventually captured. They are arrested, tried, convicted and eventually punished for their crimes. They can’t escape judgement. According to Scripture, we will all receive judgement (Romans 14:10).
Revelation explains how this will come to pass. Christ is depicted holding a scroll. One by one, he breaks the seven seals securing it. Each seal unleashes a new demonstration of God’s judgement during the Great Tribulation. So, what lies in the future when these seals are broken?
Imperialism – demonstrated by a rider on a white horse. A spirit of conquest. Nations coming under one rule. The first seal.
War – a rider on a red horse, carrying a great sword. The second seal.
Blood flowing freely. Executions; assassinations. No one safe.
Famine – the third seal: a rider on a black horse, indicating starvation.
Lack of food and clean water on a worldwide scale.
Death – a rider, named ‘Death’, on a pale horse. The sequence: imperialism producing war; war producing famine; famine producing death.
God’s judgement upon the earth. The fourth seal.
Martyred Dead – this fifth seal stands alone, very different from the others. Rather than judgement, it speaks of martyred souls. Those who suffered greatly for Christ. Under the altar of God, they are given white robes. Recognition of their dedication and holiness.
Cosmic Disturbances – involving the whole universe. This sixth seal will bring not only a worldwide earthquake – the sun and moon will cease to give light. Stars fall from the sky. The sky disappears. Complete darkness.
O Lord, cleanse our hearts, we pray. Then may we be worthy to receive ‘white robes’.