Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures call out, as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come!’ 2I looked, and there was a white horse! [Revelation 6.1-2]
Unless Christ can be said to reign over the hard facts of life, He cannot be said to reign at all. Beginning in Revelation 6 and continuing to chapter 11, we have a series of terrifying visions: war, famine, poverty, and death stalk the earth. These images are not a prediction of our century; rather they describe the history of our world through time. The four horsemen of the apocalypse always carry out their deadly work no matter what the era.
During the last 35 years of his life John had lived through a series of grim events which might well seem a challenge to Christian belief in the kingship of Christ. Earthquakes – famine – civil war – the eruption of Mt Vesuvius – and the destruction of Jerusalem were events that brought fear to human hearts.
I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance….’ [Revelation 1.9]
The church too knew suffering. John’s beloved congregations knew what it meant to be despised and of little account in the eyes of the world. To these friends, he counsels courage and patient endurance in difficult days. The four horseman are not the final decisive factor in history. God still reigns.
DID YOU KNOW?
Asia Minor was the richest province in the empire. Much of the land was devoted to vineyards and olive groves which were more lucrative than grains. The result was great wealth for absentee landlords and food scarcity for the general population. John is describing a time when the poor go hungry while the rich have plenty (v.6).
Have you ever practiced lament as the witnesses do in 6:10? Tell God where you long to see a wrong righted, in your own life or in the wider world. (On December 1, fourteen people were killed after gunmen opened fire inside a church in Burkino Faso. The victims were attending a service at a church in Hantoukoura, BF).
HYMNODY: ‘Comfort, comfort, O my people’ HWB 176
Pray: Creator God, may your peace go with us wherever we will be this day.
May you guide us through the challenges, protect us when in need
and inspire us with your love. AMEN