Thursday in the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

Revelation 6:1-8

The Seals and the Horsemen

One might suggest that with the opening of the seals, the Book of Revelation begins in earnest.  I wish to discuss this passage in relation to two other passages.  The first is Daniel 2 where the Kingdom of Christ and his Church smash all prior earthly kingdoms.  This passage reminds us that God’s Kingdom shall ultimately conquer regardless of outward circumstances.  The second is our Lord’s “Olivet Discourse” (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21).  In this passage we are reminded that “the end is not yet” but that there shall be wars and rumors of wars, false christs and gospels, betrayals, and most of all, persecution of God’s people, for an unspecified amount of time before our Lord’s return, and that in the interim we are called to faithfulness.  This and other passages (e.g., Matthew 25:14-30) remind us that our God intended that His people live in this time between his Son’s first and second comings. 

In light of these two passages, I take what comes of the “four horsemen” of the first four seals (namely, war and its inevitable results of civil unrest and crime, famine, and death) not solely as something that shall happen in a future “great tribulation” (though I do not doubt that all these terrible things shall then happen) but as what our Lord told us would happen until his return.  Our Lord’s coming has put Satan on defense.  And though matters on earth have measurably improved since the founding of Christ’s Church, Satan still manages a full-court press and especially of God’s people and will until the end of time.  For this reason, we should not be surprised that there are wars, nor should we believe promises from politicians, regardless how sincere, that wars shall one day cease.  They won’t; evil is too rooted in the heart of man.  But we should also steer away from thinking that some particular war is the war that shall bring the end, some particular dictator the Antichrist.  We learned from John’s First Letter that there have been and shall be antichrists galore before our Lord’s return.

So how should we live in light of the opening of these first four seals.  Understand first that it was the Lamb that opened them and the cherubim that commanded each horseman to “Come!”  In other words, all happens according to our Father’s sovereign will.  Second, that we live in a time where we are called to faithfulness.  We are not home; we are aliens in a strange land.  We will experience tribulation and persecution; indeed, we should expect it.  Our time here is a call for endurance while we live godly lives in witness for Him.  Third, He shall one day call us home!

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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