Summary: How much of what goes on in this world does God have a hand in? Is there anything that happens outside of his will? Look and see!
Revelation, the Grand Finale of God’s Word
Through Peril to Paradise
Who’s in Charge?
Why doesn’t God do something about all the evil in this world? How can God let these things happen? These questions, (and many like them), have plagued believers for centuries. There are few spiritual things that cause man to wonder and seek to know why with as much interest as these. There are so many terrible things that happen to faithful and loving people in this world, and the answers to our questions are much like a sealed book that no one can open. Who can make sense of the evil things in this old world? When will it all be resolved? While God’s Word may not explain the entire trip, it does encourage us to take the hand of the Lord in faith that he will see us through. It’s as if the Lord reaches out his hand to us and asks, “Do you trust me?”
We are creatures that prefer harmony as we listen to the music of life. In order to satisfy our thirst to understand, missing information is often invented and presented as if it is true. Clever minds that create convincing and even documented answers may win popular opinion even though the information is false. But what is truth? And who is worthy (and able) to open the book and reveal the truth? Only Jesus. He is the Word of God and the truth that gives us life!
As we listen to the words of Revelation 6-7 and watch carefully the scenes that are shown on the screen of scripture, we hear God’s answers to some of what is happening in this world and in heaven. The answers that bring harmony and peace to faithful souls are here. Note that God maintains complete control over all that we see. Isn’t it wonderful to know that nothing happens outside of God’s will and without His permission? Praise the Lord that we have a Sovereign Lord who rules over the events of history! Nothing can happen in your life that does not first pass through His hands!
Read chapter 6:1-8
Numbers are obviously important in Revelation. The significance of the number seven goes all the way back to Genesis. The creation was completed in six days and on the seventh day God rested. He also blessed this day and expects man to recognize and honor the seventh day. When Cain was marked and exiled God said that whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him seven fold. The father of Noah, who marked the last generation before the flood, lived 777 years. (Coincidence? What do you think?). Clean animals were brought onto the ark of Noah in pairs of seven. Jacob served Laban seven years (twice) for Rachel. When Jacob appears before Esau he bows seven times. Pharaoh’s dream of seven cows and seven stalks of wheat being eaten by seven lean cows and seven withered stalks of wheat…
And on and on we can go. Take a concordance and look up the words “seven, seventh, and sevens.” The word group for seven occurs 38 times in Revelation alone. (598 times in Old and New Testaments together).
Seven is a number of heaven. It has to do with completion and holiness. Not that this is always the case, but whenever seven is used to express some spiritual meaning, you can be sure it has to do with the hand and plan of God.
Notice what happens as each seal is opened.
What do you see when the first seal is opened?
What does the rider have and what does he receive?
Go through and underline the words “was given, and
was granted.” What do these words imply in their contexts?
What does the first rider go out and do?
Notice what happens when the second seal is opened:
Who speaks this time?
What does this rider receive and what does he
cause men to do?
What happens when the third seal is opened?
Who speaks this time?
What does the rider hold in his hands?
What does the voice say?
What happens when the fourth seal is opened?
What two characters appear?
What does it say about their authority? What do they do with this authority?
How would you sum up what is revealed thus far as these first four seals are opened?
What things here are happening that we still see happening in the world today?
How are we to understand the meaning of the words, “it was given” or “it was granted” in light of the events we see?
Where do all these events take place?
Who do these things happen to?
What can I know from this much of what is revealed about God’s involvement in the bad things that happen here?