Part 138 - Revelation 6:9–15
The first four seals gave us an all too accurate picture of the state of the world caused mainly by the failure of mankind to resist the work of the devil. The obvious question to ask is why. Why does the Creator God not take action to stop the world; to judge mankind for its great errors and renew the world right now, without further ado. The fifth seal answers that difficult question by telling us what the view of the martyrs for their faithfulness to Jesus is. No wonder they took this position for, if the Lord God had acted sooner they would not have been martyred. So their great cry is “how long, oh Lord, how long”. They want the great judgement to begin right now and so they would be avenged.
They have to wait, in the same way as in Genesis 15:16 Abraham, impatient to secure the land he had been promised, was told that he had to wait until the sins of the Amorites reached their peak and they were only then to be judged. So the martyred ones had to wait, and so do we. It is tempting to suggest that our current world has seen the zenith of the activities of the first two horsemen: the conquest by leading individuals of first one country or part of the world and then another; and in Fascism, Communism and extreme Islam the pinnacle of attempts to reorganise people at whatever cost; the height of the pressures of of famine and disease are still to come in spite of our ever increasing ability to increase crop yields and control disease. Are there still to be world-wide crop problems and mega-uncontrollable diseases still to come? We must hope not but they would fit the situation outlined here.
In the meantime, before those things happen, perhaps the sixth seal is suggesting that there will be a great crash for the welfare of those who think they have it all. The picture John paints is highly symbolic. Earthquakes, eclipses of the sun, and impossible events like stars falling to earth were the way that they talked of great calamities in his day. It seems that the fear of these things was greatest amongst the rich and powerful of the world. Serve them right we may think. But it does go on to say that everyone else also panicked in the face of what seemed to be happening. Perhaps the major plus here is that they would all seem to be recognizing that these events were part of the results of the judgement of the Creator God and of the Lamb.
We, like the martyred ones, have to wait in patience for God to act. He has a plan for the world. It has to descend to even more difficult situations before it will be ripe for judgement. In the same way as fruit picked too early when it is not ripe is no good so the direct action of the Triune God now would be too soon. We have to wait.
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