Bible Passage: Revelation 6:1-17
In line with the recent federal election and the candidates’ election campaigns, most people deep down in their hearts know that politicians cannot be fully trusted and will inevitably break some of their promises. In recent years we also learned that life is filled with uncertainty. Amid all the chaos in the world, we are called to rest only in our God, who will never fail us, and read what He has revealed to us in the Bible. The Bible passage today from Revelation 6 might seem a bit hard to understand, but it is an important passage and it will surely be fulfilled. We know that the Word of God from the Old Testament is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, even to the smallest details. This same Christ gave us His word, through the Holy Spirit, as revealed in the book of Revelation. While many parts of the book are confusing, we are called to try our best to understand it, hold onto it, and believe that it will have an impact on our lives today.
In our reformed church, we view eschatology with what can be called as “already and not yet.” Our passage today speaks about not only what is in the future, but about what has already happened. Christ’s second coming is in the future, but his first coming happened in the past, so now we are living at the end of the age – the last age before Christ’s second coming to conclude this age, before we move to the new heaven and the new earth.
The First 4 Seals
In Revelation 5:7 we saw a Lamb that was slain (v6) went and took the scroll that had been sealed with seven seals (v1). Revelation 6 is about each of the seven seals, opened one by one. The first four seals can be categorised together representing the four aspects of the judgement of God. When each of these four seals is opened, a horse with a distinct colour appears, each with different riders. These four horses represent God’s judgements to those who oppressed His people or the churches throughout the ages. While this passage is full of imageries, we can be certain that it is the truth and that it will surely be fulfilled.
- 1. A White Horse, its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him (v2). This represents a war, a king or a leader that will come to conquer.
- 2. A Red Horse, its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slay one another, and he was also given a great sword (v4). This horse takes away the peace on earth, triggering all kinds of chaos.
- 3. A Black Horse, its rider had a pair of scales in his hand (v5-6). This represents a recession where everything becomes expensive (inflation), or a famine.
- 4. A Pale Horse, its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. “They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth” (v8).
The Fifth Seal (verse 9 – 11)
While this passage (v 9 – 11) is far from our everyday reality as Christians, there are quite a lot of people in other parts of the world that are experiencing persecution. The cry that is described in verse 9 is not of revenge, but it is a deep longing for the enforcement of justice from God. While they were told to rest a little longer, verse 11 indicates that the persecution of Christians will continue until the time comes when the number is complete, then Christ will come for the second time to bring justice.
The Sixth Seal (verse 12 – 17)
The description in this passage visualises the judgement from God. Verse 15-16 tells us how even the kings and the powerful rulers cry aloud in fear. However, their fear is not from death itself, as they would rather die from the fall of the mountains and rocks than to face the wrath of the Lamb. As verse 17 tells us “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
What does it mean for us today? Sometimes our life does not indicate that we truly believe about the reality of God’s judgement. What do we think about the unbelievers around us? Unless we believe in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s judgement will come. With all the chaos that is happening in this world today, there should be a sense of urgency. Life is short, judgement will come. May we spread the good news, pray for the work of God, pray for the unbelievers, and pray for us to be witnesses in this world today.