Summary: Since the triumphal return of the slain Lamb to heaven the four horseman have adding to the brokenness of this world. We may despair as believers but we need to keep the opening of the seals of the scroll in perspective.
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Protection of the Church in This Broken World.
When I was on long service leave we went to Movie World – there is a great roller coaster ride there called the Superman Escape Ride.
Show quick video clip of ride (find on youtube or relate a similar experience).
When you go on the ride you know it is going to be scary, yet there is something about going on a ride like that really entices you. You just know at the end of the journey that you are going to have a sense of triumph.
In the same way being part of God’s history in this world can also feel like that.
On the one hand there is a sense of dread, mixed emotions, and fear.
On the other hand there is something exciting about the whole journey.
And there is a really good Biblical reason why this is the case.
Let’s read Revelation 6:1-8:1.
The scroll contains a Revelation about the unfolding of history. As the horsemen go out to help unfold history it is very evident that there is a lot about history which is broken.
Seal 1:- 6:1-2
The undoing of this seal unleashes a white horse whose rider has a bow and a crown; he is a conqueror determined to have control over others. History is full of such people.
Middle East Dictators.
There is not one country in the whole world that has not been involved in a war at some time in its history.
Everyone wants to have the riches that others have. Leaders send their soldiers into battle, willing to make the cost the lives of men and women. Battles are fought over small pieces of land that seem to have some a strategic significance. A decision made in a war room seems so sterile on paper – but the tragedy that will unfold will impact hundreds and even thousands.
Behind it all is a mood of discontent and greed. The rider of the white horse is succeeding – right through history he is breaking our world.
Seal 2:- 6:3-4
Leaders of nations are not the only ones making life difficult – the rider of the red horse sees to that by removing peace at every level. Just this week a man stabbed his wife to death in Bracken Ridge – that is just up the road. And this is just one story of thousands where there is a lack of peace.
Homo sapiens are biologically so similar that we all come under the same biological name.
Eye colours differ.
Hair colours differ.
Body types differ.
But you pick two people from anywhere in the world and you put them next to each other … and you can see they are the same. Yet we bash, knife, shot, abuse, rape, maim, manipulate destroy each other.
Peace is constantly being taken away. The rider of the red horse is succeeding – right through history he is breaking our world.
Seal 3:- 6:5-6
The rider of the black horse has a different role.
Ordinarily a day’s wage could buy enough wheat to feed a family for 4 days.
And a day’s wage could buy a family enough barley for 3 weeks.
The black rider brings his scales and changes the economics. Now all you can get is enough wheat for one person, for one day; and enough barley for one family for three days. No one can afford items like oil and wine.
Nearly a billion people suffer from hunger in the world today. That is 1 in 7 people.
Worse still, 19 million of those are children under the age of five at immediate risk of dying.
This risk results in 3.5 million child deaths every year. That is the same number as all the people in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast – and all in between. Each year, children under 5 years only, dying from hunger.
The scales for food distribution have always been unfavourable to some as the black rider causes hunger right through history – it is a broken world.
Seal 4:- 6:7-8
Death and Hades always go together. Death is the instrument which is used to cause our breath no longer to be with us. Hades is the place where the dead are gathered. The result is a huge amount of destruction which is allowed to take place as a result of the opening of this one seal – their reign of terror is one fourth of the whole earth. These are not ordinary deaths; but catastrophic ones.
By the sword – deliberate and calculated taking of life.
By famine – slow, painful, indiscriminate.
By plagues – extensive, sever, no respecter of status or class.