THE BOOK OF REVELATION
(It is well with my soul - October 4, 2020)
Series Big Idea: "God has revealed His plans for the consummation of human history"
Sermon Big Idea: "Christians may suffer in the present but one day God will judge all evil"
Key Scripture (Revelation 6:1-17)
For the last two weeks we have studied chapters 4-5. Everything in those two chapters took place in heaven. The worship of God and the Lamb around the throne was the central focus. Today we come to chapter 6, and in John's vison he is still in heaven. But what he begins to see in the heavenly vision has impact on the earth. The throne room vision and the worship of God and the Lamb of the last two chapters prepares the way for God's righteous judgements that we will now see in the following chapters. Although the Lamb (Jesus) is in heaven, He is in complete control of the affairs of all nations and peoples.
Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked, and there was a white horse. The horseman on it had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out as a victor to conquer. 3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse went out, a fiery red one, and its horseman was empowered to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And a large sword was given to him. 5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and there was a black horse. The horseman on it had a set of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard something like a voice among the four living creatures say, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius —but do not harm the olive oil and the wine.” 7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 And I looked, and there was a pale green horse. The horseman on it was named Death, and Hades was following after him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill by the sword, by famine, by plague, and by the wild animals of the earth. 9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the people slaughtered because of God’s word and the testimony they had. 10 They cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth?” 11 So a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number would be completed of their fellow slaves and their brothers, who were going to be killed just as they had been. 12 Then I saw Him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood; 13 the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; 14 the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”
The scroll with the seven seals that was mentioned in chapter 5 is now being opened by the only One worthy to break the seals; Jesus. Each time a seal is opened, a part of God's wrath is unleashed on planet earth. No one knows for sure when in history these seals are being opened, it can only be speculated. Some say this happens during the seven year tribulation period, which is possibly the best timing. But the contents of these seals which are wars, earthquakes, famines, and pestilence, have been happing throughout history.
For us to try and locate these judgements in our present day or even trying to predict future events is a mistake on our part. We are missing the point of the passage. It is not our job to try and predict the exact date of Christ's return or even map out a timeline of exact end time events (Acts 1:6-7). The Apostle Paul even said that death, which is the name of the pale green horses rider, affects us all (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).
The point of this passage of Scripture is that the four horseman, which are widely know as the four horseman of the apocalypses, Should remind us to not let ourselves be seduced by the false sense of security that influential people, institutions, and empires often have over us. None of the things just mentioned can ever save us from death. When the seven churches read this part of chapter six they were probably shaken to the core and confronted with the question; "in whom or what are we putting our trust in?" Instead of seducing us it should drive us to a renewed trust in the Lord Jesus. He is our only reliable source of security.
Finally, when the fifth seal is broken John sees martyred saints in heaven. With the opening of the sixth seal, there is no more holding back; unbelievers now face the full wrath of God and the Lamb. I feel that in these verses We are encouraged to continue to stand strong as faithful witnesses of the Lord, no matter what comes our way.
The Bible is consistently teaching a theology of endurance, not one of escaping. Believers in Christ are promised to never experience God's wrath or condemnation (John 16:33). God is sovereign and He exercises patience (grace) even though His people experience injustice at the moment, but His delayed judgement doesn’t mean there will be no judgement, because one day God will judge the wicked and He will vindicate His people.
The prayers of the martyred saints in these verses are not prayers for their personal vindication, it is a prayer for God's vindication of Himself and His people. It is not for personal revenge (Romans 12:19) (1 Peter 2:23). We can pray for our enemies and those who persecute us and for their salvation (Matthew 5:44), but we can also pray for the day of God's overthrow of all evil (Matthew 6:10; 7:21-23).
But here is the deal. You and I must choose a side. Yes there are two sides. The side of the Lord God and the side of evil. We cannot straddle the fence forever. One day it will be too late.
Back in 1871 there was a very successful lawyer by the name of Horatio Spafford who lost everything in the great Chicago fire. Two years later he and his family made the decision to move to Europe. He sent his wife and four daughters on ahead while he tied up loose ends. Before he could make the journey himself he received a telegram from his wife that simply said "saved alone." The ship they were on was struck by another ship and his daughters and 222 other people died in the accident. As he passed by the place where his daughters had perished, he penned these words, "When peace like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say. It is well, it is well, with my soul. It is well, with my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul. Is it well with your soul?
Pastor Beaver's thoughts and ideals for this message, are inspired by:
Holman Christian Standard Bible
English Standard Version Bible
King James Version Bible
Christian Standard Bible
The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John F. Walvoord/Roy B. Zuck
The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge by Jerome H. Smith
Water, Mark, ed. Encyclopedia of Bible Facts. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Barry, John D. et al. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016. Print.
NIV, Archaeological Study Bible, eBook: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture
Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Duane Garrett, and Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
NIV, First-Century Study Bible, eBook: Explore Scripture in Its Jewish and Early Christian Context
Zondervan, Kent Dobson, and Ed Dobson
Hughes, Robert B. and J. Carl Laney. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1990. WORDsearch CROSS e-book. Revised edition of New Bible Companion.
Akin, Daniel L. Exalting Jesus in Revelation. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2016. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Easley, Kendell. Revelation. Edited by Max Anders. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1998. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Keener, Craig. Revelation: From biblical text...to contemporary life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Patterson, Paige. Volume 39: Revelation. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2012. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
Duvall, J. Scott. Revelation. Ed. Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014. Print. Teach the Text Commentary Series.
Morris, Leon. Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 20. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987. Print. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries.
James H. Bolick, Sermon Outlines from the Word, Sermon Outline Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987), 8.
Carr, Alan. Revelation. Lenoir, NC: Alan Carr, 2012. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
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