Today we read Revelation 4-7. John is invited to enter through a door into heaven, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” John records this vision and theologians have debated the meaning for decades. Chapter 4 focuses on a vision of God on his throne surrounded by 24 elders, presumably representing the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 Apostles. “Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore!” said Judy Garland in Wizard of Oz. We see the creator of the world who is totally in control and who either because of divine patience or because of providing people the right of choice has allowed evil to impact our reality. But that will not be forever.
Chapter 5 focuses on a scroll in the right hand of God that is sealed but no one is qualified to open it until the Lamb that looks slain appears. Jesus, the crucified, now appears uniting the Old Testament Pascal lamb and the crucified savior as one person, qualified to open the seals.
Chapters 6 and 7 tells about the opening of the seals. Out come horses of various colors representing war, civil dissent, famine, plague, persecution and earthquakes. From this vision, it would not appear that things are going to get better and that faith is not about health, wealth and prosperity. Persecutions, suffering and illness should not be a surprise to us. For many in our world today, it is reality. Of comfort, though, is that John looks out and sees “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” They are praising and singing. Great celebration is coming!
How do these chapters impact me today and what do they mean for my life now? As I turn on the evening news and hear of the problems confronting us, I realize there is a God who has talked about these trials, knows and is waiting for the right time to bring justice and joy. Each generation has lamented, “Is now the time?” We do not know but we know the time is coming. Secondly I realize that I am not alone in whatever problem I am facing today. Others have dealt with similar problems and God is fighting for me. I am not alone and God is working for good. Those are two big things I can thank God for today. May we be faithful in our situations and keep our eyes on the Savior who conquered death and will reign for eternity. Blessings.